Buffalo farming in Italy is traditionally oriented towards mozzarella cheese production. Over the last decade, it has rapidly increased. As a result, intensive techniques and mechanization of farm activities have been introduced. Those sudden changes in rearing techniques have aroused a general concern about buffalo welfare and its possible consequences on product quality. Human-animal interactions are recognized to have an impact on productivity, behaviour and welfare, particularly in dairy farms, where the milking process involves a close interaction with a human handler. Focusing on the first month of lactation, this preliminary study aimed at evidencing buffalo behavioural responses to machine milking. The relationship between behaviour and oxytocin administration, often performed to allow milk let down, was also investigated. The experiment included 8 multiparous and 6 primiparous buffaloes that calved in the same period. Starting from the first entrance in the milking parlour, the animals were followed 2 days/week during the morning milking for the first 5 weeks of lactation. Behaviour observation was performed following a focal animal sampling (continuous recording) technique. Proportional frequencies of the following behaviours were calculated: kicking; stepping; defaecating; urinating; vocalizing; and pulling the teat cup off the teats. The exogenous oxytocin administration at milking was recorded. Pearson chi-square test was used to verify the presence of differences between the primiparous and multiparous cow behaviour at milking. Cochran's Q test was used to assess the variability of behaviour over time, and a binomial regression was performed in order to verify the correlations between animal behaviour and the need to administer oxytocin. Considering the lactation number, every behavioural pattern in primiparous cows, except for stepping, resulted to be more frequently performed (36.67% vs. 24.36% for kicking; 5% vs. 2.56% for defaecating; 11.67% vs. 5.13% for pulling the teat cup off the teats). The behaviour of urinating (48.33% vs. 11.54%) proved to have a significantly higher mean frequency of occurrence compared to the multiparous one (P<0.001). The frequency of oxytocin administration showed a high variability over time (P<0.001) which decreased soon, whereas the selected behaviours proved to be more stable in time except for kicking and urinating (P<0.05). Some correlations between animal behaviour at milking and oxytocin administration were found. Kicking, stepping and urinating appeared to be significantly related to the requirement of exogenous molecule (P<0.001). The occurrence of behaviours considered as indicators of acute stress and their correlation with oxytocin administration were a clear proof of the machine milking impact on buffalo welfare and productivity.
Buffalo behavioural response to machine milking in early lactation / R. Cavallina, C. Roncoroni, M.C. Campagna, M. Minero, E. Canali. - In: ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. - ISSN 1594-4077. - 7:3(2008), pp. 287-295.
|Titolo:||Buffalo behavioural response to machine milking in early lactation|
MINERO, MICHELA (Penultimo)
CANALI, ELISABETTA (Ultimo)
|Parole Chiave:||Bubalus bubalis; Machine milking; Behaviour; Oxytocin|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/ijas.2008.287|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|