Physiological and behavioural effects of changeover from conventional to automatic milking in dairy cows with and without previous experience

https://doi.org/10.17221/5621-VETMEDCitation:Weiss D., Moestl E., M Bruckmaier R. (2005): Physiological and behavioural effects of changeover from conventional to automatic milking in dairy cows with and without previous experience. Veterinarni Medicina, 50: 253-261.
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The effects of the changeover from conventional parlour to an automatic milking system (AMS) on behaviour and physiological parameters in dairy cows with and without previous experience in AMS milking were investigated. Heart rate increase was higher in unexperienced cows (UC) than in experienced cows (EC) during the first AMS visit (31 ± 2 and 12 ± 2 beats per min, respectively, P < 0.05). EC entered the automatic milking stall voluntarily without any intervention by the staff. In contrast, in UC the rate of voluntary visits was 4, 26, 40, 49, 63, 72, 76, 89, 91 and 94% during the first 10 d of AMS milking, respectively. Faecal cortisol metabolites were not affected by the changeover. In UC milk ejection was disturbed during the first visits, i. e. mean milk yield at the first milking in the AMS was significantly lower as compared to that in the parlour (67 ± 7%, P < 0.05), whereas milk ejection in EC was not disturbed. The total milk yield of the first 15 milkings differed significantly in UC (87.3 ± 2.4%) and EC (108.8 ± 3.3%) as compared to previous parlour yields (P < 0.05). In conclusion, cows with previous experience to AMS milking did not need a new adaptation period in the AMS after a transient period of parlour milking. In contrast, UC do need an intensive adaptation to the AMS in order to minimise production loss. Data clearly demonstrate that an adequate adaptation is crucial for successful milk production in AMS.
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