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Effect of feeding method on the learning of feeding behaviour in growing dairy heifers

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Title: Effect of feeding method on the learning of feeding behaviour in growing dairy heifers
Author: Greter, Angela Marissa
Department: Department of Animal and Poultry Science
Advisor: DeVries, Trevor
Abstract: The objective of this dissertation was to determine the effects of different feed delivery methods on the behaviour, rumen health, and growth, as well as on the learning of behaviour of pre-pubertal dairy heifers. Thirty-two Holstein dairy heifers were fed, for 13 weeks, a ration of haylage and concentrate presented either as a total mixed ration (TMR) or top-dressed ration (TDR). All heifers were then switched to an unfamiliar TMR for 7 weeks. Heifers fed the TMR were able to more evenly distribute their feeding activity throughout the day and competed less for feed. These behaviours persisted across the ration change, suggesting that the animals had been conditioned to their feeding experience. Heifers fed the TMR also maintained more solid fecal consistency across the experiment, indicating that the effects on rumen health were persisting, as a direct result of the continuation and persistence of desirable feeding patterns and habits.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/21773
Date: 2010
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