Send to

Choose Destination
J Dairy Sci. 2008 Dec;91(12):4552-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.2008-1048.

Lameness, activity time-budgets, and estrus expression in dairy cattle.

Author information

Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Wirral CH64 7TE, United Kingdom.


The aim of the present study was to identify specific behavioral patterns that contribute to diminished estrus expression in lame cows. Behavioral scan and focal sampling were used to examine the effect of lameness on daily activity budgets, sexual behavior, feeding activities, and body condition score. A total of 59 milking cows (51.8 +/- 1.4 d postpartum) were monitored on a commercial dairy farm for 5 d following estrus synchronization. Overall, lame cows (n = 39) spent proportionately less time elevated on their feet and more time lying down compared with nonlame cows (n = 20). This included lame cows spending less time walking or standing. Overall, the total proportion of scans in which an estrous behavior was observed was very small but tended to be smaller for lame compared with nonlame cows. Throughout a day, lame cows displayed a lower proportion of estrous behaviors in the early morning. Lameness did not affect durations of drinking, grazing, or ruminating, or how these behavioral states fluctuated throughout the day. Similarly, rumination chewing rates were the same for lame and nonlame cows, and there was no association between lameness and dominance/displacement while feeding at a feed-fence. Lame cows did, however, have a slower bite rate at pasture and had a lower body condition score. Lame cows were also nearer the rear of the herd, both as they left the field and when entering the milking parlor. In conclusion, lame cows have longer lying times and spend less time standing, walking, and expressing an estrous behavior. Lame cows also have a lower bite rate at pasture and are more likely to be of lower body condition score.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center