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J Dairy Sci. 2011 Jan;94(1):426-30. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3239.

Evaluation of a system for monitoring rumination in heifers and calves.

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Clinic for Animal Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, 14163 Germany.


The Hi-Tag electronic rumination-monitoring system (SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel), based on capturing audio recordings, provides a reasonable measure of rumination time in dairy cows, but has not been validated for milk-fed or weaned heifers. The objective of this study was to validate the Hi-Tag rumination-monitoring system in heifers and calves and to assess whether suckling from a teat interfered with recording from this system. Assessments of 2 independent observers were highly correlated (r=0.99, n=20), indicating that direct visual observations provide a useful standard. Measures from the Hi-Tag system were validated by comparing values with those from a single human observer, using observations from three 2-h intervals from 35 Holstein calves and heifers aged 4, 6, and 9 wk and 3, 6, and 9 mo, respectively. In 9-mo-old heifers, rumination times obtained from the electronic system were highly correlated with visual observations (r=0.88, R2=0.77, n=15), and the mean difference was minor (-4┬▒8 min/2-h interval). The accuracy of data from the automated system decreased when used on heifers less than 9 mo old. Suckling did not interfere with the electronic system (r=-0.1, n=18). These results indicate that the Hi-Tag system is an accurate tool for monitoring rumination behavior in Holstein Friesian heifers from the age of 9 mo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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