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Assessing response to dry-off in dairy cows kept outdoors using spontaneous behaviours and infrared thermography—a pilot study

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We used spontaneous behaviours to assess response to dry-off involving abrupt dietary and milking frequency changes, followed by regrouping, after the last milking in 15 clinically healthy Holstein-Frisian cows kept outdoors. Moreover, we explored the potential of infrared thermography to detect eye temperature variations possibly induced by dry-off. On days − 1, 0, 1 and 2 relative to dry-off, we recorded whether cows vocalised during feed delivery; ate fresh feed within 5 min; and mean maximum eye temperature at approximately 1 h after feed delivery. On days 1 and 2, cows were more likely to eat fresh feed compared to days − 1 and 0. No difference in likelihood of vocalising was found. Compared to day − 1, eye temperature was substantially higher on days 0 and 2. Collectively, the results suggest that cows responded, both behaviourally and physiologically, to the abrupt dry-off management. The interpretation of the current findings deserves further investigation using larger sample sizes, more controlled environments and further behavioural, physiological, cognitive and clinical measures.
TidsskriftTropical Animal Health and Production
Antal sider4
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2021

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