Behavioural manifestations of dairy cattle in the pasture-based system

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Abstract

A pasture-based system for dairy cattle is not common due to the need for milking, despite the fact that this system provides the possibility of natural animal behaviour. Six behavioural observations were carried out during the grazing season in dairy herds bred in a mountainous area (700 m a. s. l.) The basic herd was comprised of 53 cows, mainly of the Holstein breed. From April to November the herd was located on pastures near the stables and milked twice a day in a tandem milking parlour. Feed ration was composed of pasture and concentrated feed in the stable. During the grazing season, there was a slight variation with a tendency to extend the grazing period to the autumn months. The cattle grazed the shortest time in May - 35.0% of the day or 8.4 hours. In the autumn months the grazing time increased by 2.2 and 2.6 hours respectively. Cows were resting the longest time period in May and June (8.9 and 9.1 h respectively). On the other hand, cows were resting for the shortest time in October (6.8 hours). During the grazing period the milk yield decreased from 20.4 kg in April to 14.4 kg in November.

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