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Tierarztl Prax Ausg G Grosstiere Nutztiere. 2019 Feb;47(1):5-13. doi: 10.1055/a-0827-5656. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

[Assessment of rumen fill in dairy cows for evaluation of the individual feed intake in herd management].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

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Klinik für Klauentiere Freie Universität Berlin.
Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Gartenbau -Sachsen-Anhalt, Zentrum für Tierhaltung und Technik, Iden.


in English, German


Postpartal disease complexes of dairy cows are frequently related to an insufficient feed intake around calving. The study examined the relationship between the rumen fill (RF) score and the feed intake. A further aim was to evaluate whether the RF score can be used in practice to estimate the cow's individual feed intake (in kg dry mass intake or fresh-mass intake per cow).


In pluriparous cows (n = 109), the RF was scored daily according to the schema of Zaaijer and Noordhuizen (2003) modified by half-points between day 24 (± 4 days) ante partum (a. p.) and day 9 post partum (p. p.) as well as on days 28 (± 2 days) and 60 (± 2 days) p. p. The individual feed intake per cow was recorded. Additionally, measurements of the feed intake were performed every 4 hours over 24 hours (24-hour daily profiles) in 21 cows a. p. and in 10 cows p. p.


There was a significant relationship between the RF score and the feed intake both a. p. and p. p. The number of days in milk greatly influenced this relationship. Immediately p. p., there was a response in the RF score of half a score with an additional intake of 3.5 kg dry matter, while a. p., a change of the PF score only occurred when the feed uptake was reduced by 18 kg dry matter.


During the first week p. p., the RF score proved to be a sensitive measuring instrument for the individual feed intake. Because of its low response a. p., it was only suitable for the detection of animals at risk with a considerably reduced feed intake over several days.


The RF score provides the most informative value during the first week p. p. to assess the increase in feed intake in the individual cow after calving. It is recommended to score the RF daily during the first 7-9 days p. p. and to evaluate it individually to detect risk animals with a reduced feed intake. During the dry period, only cows with a significantly reduced feed intake over several days can be detected and consequently treated early to prevent disorders p. p. During lactation (evaluated on days 28 and 60 p. p.), the RF score appears to be of very limited informative value regarding the individual feed intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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