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Research article2005Peer reviewed

Maintenance and milking behaviours of Murrah buffaloes during two feeding regimes

Thomas CS, Nordstrom J, Svennersten-Sjaunja K, Wiktorsson H


Diurnal maintenance behaviour and behaviour during milking in a mechanised system with two feeding regimes were studied in 14 Murrah buffaloes managed in a highly mechanised system. Normal fixed rations of roughage and concentrates and established milking routines (T-I) were compared to a regime with increased access to roughage and 50% reduction in in-parlour feeding (IPF) of concentrate (T-II). Reduced concentrate was compensated in the out of parlour feeding system (AFS). Buffaloes spent 23, 39, and 33% of their time eating, resting, and standing, respectively. This is comparable to what has been observed in cattle under similar management systems. Significant diurnal differences were observed in all behaviours except walking. Buffaloes ruminated significantly longer at night when standing in T-I while in T-II, they ruminated significantly longer when lying at night (P< 0.05). Total sleeping behaviour was significantly longer in T-II than T-I (P< 0.05). This could indicate that the animals were more satisfied and restful as a consequence of extended access to roughage. Milk let down and time to 500 g of milk was significantly earlier in T-I than in T-II (P< 0.05). Average daily milk yield tended to be lower in T-II than T -I (P< 0.10). Disturbances due to the changed IPF routines were reflected in a significantly higher oral behaviour in the parlour (P< 0.05). In conclusion, buffaloes are sensitive to the slightest change in milking routines, which is reflected in milk flow and the milk yield. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


maintenance behaviour; milking; milking characteristics; Murrah buffalo

Published in

Applied Animal Behaviour Science
2005, Volume: 91, number: 3-4, pages: 261-276