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Impact of dietary transition at dry off on the behavior and physiology of dairy cows

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Title: Impact of dietary transition at dry off on the behavior and physiology of dairy cows
Author: Dancy, Kaitlyn
Department: Department of Animal Biosciences
Program: Animal and Poultry Science
Advisor: DeVries, Trevor
Abstract: This thesis, firstly, investigated the impact of dietary transition at dry off on the behavior and physiology of Holstein dairy cows, and secondly, evaluated the efficacy of utilizing reductions in dietary nutrient density and milking frequency to mediate the dry off process and promote cow welfare. From the start of a 5-d dry off, wherein cows were milked intermittently, until 3 wk dry, cows received 1 of 2 dry cow total mixed rations which differed in nutrient density. Cows fed the dry cow diet of lower nutrient density had lower milk production at the time of dry off compared with cows fed the diet of higher nutrient density, likely as a result of dry matter intake being limited in cows fed the former, due to greater fill of the rumen. Cows fed the lower nutrient density diet fed at a slower rate, spent more time feeding, and sorted to a greater extent for the smaller, more nutrient dense components of the diet compared with cows fed the higher nutrient density diet. Regardless of sorting activity, cows fed the lower nutrient density diet spent more time ruminating per unit of dry matter consumed and had higher reticulorumen pH. Dietary transition and dry off similarly affected the energy balance and inflammatory response of cows. The results of this study indicate that the lower nutrient density diet more effectively reduced milk production before dry off, while not negatively impacting cow behavior and physiology.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/13533
Date: 2018-06-06


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