Influence of different stimulations in the parlor on the milk let down

Influence of different stimulations in the parlor on the milk let down of dairy cows in a mother-bonded calf rearing system

Responsible

  • Katharina Zipp
  • Ute Knierim

In cooperation with

  • Kerstin Barth, Institute of Organic Farming of vTI

Duration

2010-2012


In Germany in conventional and organic dairy farming the newborn calf is separated from its dam a few hours after birth. Calves are fed via bucket (with or without nipple) or automatic milk feeder and cows are milked. A more natural system is the mother-bonded rearing of the calves, where they can drink at their dams udder. There are results of research which show that this system has advantages in health, growth and behaviour of the calves and in udderhealth, fertility and behaviour the of cows. The big disadvantage of this system which is more appropriate for the cows is the milk yield which can be gained. Not only the calves drink in the mother-bonded rearing more than in the artificial, further the cows often blockade milk ejection. Thus the produced milk in the udder cannot be gained totally by milking. This leads to economical problems and a risk in udder health. For this reason the influence of different stimulations in the parlor on cows with and without contact to their calves should be investigated in this study. The stimulations which are tested in the parlor are acoustic (recorded calling of hungry calves), olfactory (hair of the own calf) and tactile (massage of the teats). The parameters are milk yield, milk composition, milk ejection chart, behaviour and heart rate in the parlor. Further the behavioural reaction of cows with and without calf-contact is tested towards different olfactory samples (hair of the own calf vs. hair of an alien calf vs. control). The research project is realized in cooperation with the Institute of Organic Farming of the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute (vTI) in Trenthorst where the data acquisition is done.