Keeping the Fresh Group Small May Have Benefits

Keeping the Fresh Group Small May Have Benefits

Cows were moved from an individual maternity pen into a fresh pen four days after calving. The fresh pen either had six cows or 24 cows, but stocking density remained the same (one cow to one feed bin and one freestall). We found that:

  1. There was less competition in small groups of six cows than in larger groups of 24 cows.
  2. Minimizing competition by housing dairy cows in a small group for the first period after calving may improve cow welfare.
  3. On the first day after introduction to the group, both feed intake and lying time was low for both groups, suggesting cows took time to adapt to the new environment.
  4. Regardless of group size, sick cows had a lower feed intake than healthy cows, and were also involved in less competition over freestalls.

To read the full article on Progressive Dairyman, click here.

Tags: Management Tips, Tranistion Cows