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Theriogenology. 2005 Nov;64(8):1690-703.

Pedometer readings for estrous detection and as predictor for time of ovulation in dairy cattle.

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Department of Animal Science, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The objective of this study was to study the relationship between increase in number of steps measured by pedometers, behavioral estrous parameters and time of ovulation, in order to investigate whether the number of steps can be used as a tool for estrous detection and as a predictor for time of ovulation. In total, 63 ovulations were observed in 43 Holstein-Friesian cows. Different behavioral signs of estrus were observed at 3h intervals. Cows were equipped with pedometers, which stored number of steps in 2h time periods and pedometer estrus alerts were defined using different algorithms and thresholds. The percentage of behavioral estruses also detected by pedometers measurements, ranged between 51 and 87% for all estrous periods. When only estrous periods where taken into account in which more than one animal was in estrus, detection percentages increased up to 95%. Number of steps taken during the estrous period was higher when more animals were in behavioral estrus at the same time, and number of steps taken during the estrous period was also higher for primiparous cows compared to multiparous cows. Ovulation occurred 29.3+/-3.9h after onset of increased number of steps (ranging between 39 and 22 h) and 19.4+/-4.4h after the end of increased number of steps (ranging between 35 and 12h). The intervals were not influenced by the number of animals that were in estrus at the same time or by parity. In conclusion, pedometers can detect estrus accurately and appear to be a promising tool for prediction of ovulation and hence could be a tool for improving fertilization rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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