Monitoring transition dairy cow behaviour for the detection of subclinical ketosis
An observational study of 4 free-stall farms was conducted to investigate the associations of cow behaviour and cow-level factors with subclinical ketosis (SCK) in transition dairy cows. Rumination time, lying behaviour, SCK, and other peripartum disorders were monitored from 2 wk before until 4 wk after calving for 339 cows. Lower rumination times and higher lying times in multiparous cows during the wk after calving (wk+1) were associated with increased odds of SCK with another health problem. Factors associated with lower odds of SCK in multiparous cows included: lower stall stocking density during wk+1, shorter dry period, lower milk yield during the previous lactation, and smaller BCS loss over transition. These results suggest monitoring behaviour may be useful in identifying multiparous cows with SCK and another health problem in wk+1; monitoring rumination behaviour, specifically, may aid in the early identification of multiparous cows at higher risk for developing SCK post-calving.