Feeding Behavior of Pregnant Dairy Heifers during Last Trimester under Loose Housing System

  • Das, Kalyan Sundar (Livestock Production Research (Cattle and Buffalo), Indian Veterinary Research Institute Izatnagar) ;
  • Das, N. (Livestock Production Research (Cattle and Buffalo), Indian Veterinary Research Institute Izatnagar)
  • Received : 2005.07.21
  • Accepted : 2006.02.06
  • Published : 2007.09.01


Thirty pregnant heifers (Jersey, Holstein Friesian and Hariana) were divided into three groups (10 animals/group) according to their stage of pregnancy viz. seven-month (181-210 days) pregnancy (SMP), eight-month (211-240 days) pregnancy (EMP) and nine-month (241-280 days) pregnancy (NMP) group. Time spent in various feeding activities (eating fodder, eating concentrate, standing rumination, sitting rumination and drinking) by each animal in the three pregnant groups was recorded in four different sessions (each session of 24 h per week). The time spent eating concentrate, eating fodder, standing rumination, sitting rumination and drinking was 61.4, 271.3, 84.6, 367.6 and 10.6 min/day, respectively in the SMP group; 52.7, 289.5, 103.3, 345.8 and 9.2 min/day, respectively in the EMP group and 65.0, 277.7, 138.1, 291.0 and 9.8 min/day, respectively in the NMP group. The animals in the EMP group spent significantly (p<0.01) more time on eating fodder and concentrate compared to the animals in SMP and NMP groups. The pregnant heifers preferred rumination in standing posture in comparison to sitting posture. The time spent on standing rumination was significantly higher in the NMP group whereas the time spent on sitting rumination was significantly lower in this group. Except for the sitting rumination activity, all the other activities were predominant in daytime compared to night time; the diurnal variation was significant (p<0.01) for all the activities.


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