The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of evaporative cooling at two different frequencies per day on the respiration rate (RR) of lactating dairy cows, considering cow-related factors. Twenty multiparous Israeli Holstein dairy cows housed in a naturally ventilated cowshed were divided randomly into two treatment groups. The cows of both groups were exposed to 3 or 8 cooling sessions per day (3xcool vs. 8xcool, respectively). The RR was observed hourly, with a maximum of 12 measurements per day. Body posture (standing vs. lying) was simultaneously documented. Milk yield was recorded daily. Coat color was determined from a digital photograph. The RR of standing and lying cows was lower in the 8xcool group (60.2 and 51.6 breaths per min (bpm), respectively) than in the 3xcool group (73.1 and 65.6 bpm, respectively). For each increment of five kilograms of milk produced, RR increased by one bpm, and the RR of cows in early days in milk (DIM) was 12.3 bpm higher than that of cows in late DIM. In conclusion, eight cooling sessions per day instead of three lead to a RR abatement in heat-stressed cows under hot conditions, and cow-related factors directly impact the RR during heat stress assessment.
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