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Research article2005Peer reviewedOpen access

Analysis of feeding and drinking patterns of dairy cows in two cow traffic situations in automatic milking systems

Melin M, Wiktorsson H, Norell L


With increasing possibilities for obtaining online information for individual cows, systems for individual management can be developed. Feeding and drinking patterns from automatically obtained records may be valuable input information in these systems. With the aim of evaluating appropriate mixed-distribution models for feeding and drinking events, records of 30 fresh cows from visits at feeding stations (n = 83,249) and water bowls (n = 67,525) were analyzed. Cows were either allowed a high-milking (HF) or a low-milking (LF) frequency by being subjected to controlled cow traffic with minimum milking intervals of 4 and 8 h, respectively. Milking frequency had significant effects on feeding patterns. The major part (84 to 98%) of the random variation in feeding patterns of the cows was due to individual differences between cows. It can be concluded that cows develop consistent feeding and drinking patterns over time that are characteristic for each individual cow. Based on this consistency, patterns of feeding and drinking activities have valuable potential for purposes of monitoring and decision making in individual control management systems. Use of a Weibull distribution to describe the population of intervals between meals increased the statistical fit, predicted biologically relevant starting probabilities, and estimated meal criteria that were closer to what has been published by others


feeding pattern; automatic milking; individual management; mixed distribution model

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2005, Volume: 88, number: 1, pages: 71-85 Publisher: AMER DAIRY SCIENCE ASSOC

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    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Animal and Dairy Science
      Veterinary Science

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