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|0109 EL: Cow comfort: Social behavior|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Herd Health|
|Written by DeLaval staff|
|Wednesday, 31 December 2008 17:00|
Social interactions can impact feeding time, ruminating time and water intake.Dominant cows may inhibit submissive cows from eating at the bunk, drinking water or lying down. Fresh cows, first-calf heifers and recently moved cows are often the submissive cows in a group. Larger cows, older cows and cows with more seniority in a group are often more dominant.
Social interactions are often highest when fresh feed is offered or right after milking. Social interactions are also more of a problem when alleys are narrow and cows have difficulty passing other cows.
Social interactions are part of natural herd behavior. But it is important to have good conditions in the barn, such as space at the feeding area, space around water bowls or troughs and enough good stalls for cows to rest in. With good barn conditions social interactions will have less influence on milk production.
The more similar cows are to one another in a group, the fewer social problems will occur. There will be less of a negative effect from overcrowding if:
• cows can be easily and rapidly moved to and from the parlor
• the ration is fed and supplied often throughout the day
• the cows in the group are fairly similar