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Behaviour of dairy cows on organic and non-organic farms

By F Langford, K Rutherford, L Sherwood, M Jack and M Haskell


There is an increasing number of organic dairy farms in the UK. The aim of this study is to compare behaviour of dairy cows on organic and non-organic farms. Twenty organic and 20 non-organic farms throughout the UK were visited over two winters (2004/05 and 2005/06). Organic and non-organic farms were paired for housing type, herd size, milk production traits and location. The number of cows feeding was counted every fifteen minutes for 4.5 h after new feed was available post morning milking. Behaviour at the feed-face was recorded for 60 minutes and aggressive interactions between cows were quantified. Farm type had no effect on numbers of cows feeding. There were more interactions between cows feeding at open feed-faces compared to head-bale barriers. At open feed-faces, there were more interactions on organic farms than non-organic. It is possible that organic cows were hungrier than non-organic cows after the arrival of new feed

Topics: Dairy cattle, Health and welfare, Feeding and growth
Publisher: Association of Applied Biologists
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Organic Eprints

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