University of Vermont

Pasture Research at the University of Vermont The Influence Of  Social Facilitation On The Grazing Behavior Of Lactating Dairy Cows Fed Different Supplement Feeds
Jennefer Beller, John Bramley, Joanne Knapp and Sid Bosworth
Duration: 1997 - 1998
Supplemental feeding trials, particularly as it pertains to pasture, often commingle the animals into one grazing group; however, previous research has indicated that social bonds and interactions can strongly affect the feeding behavior of animals.  This study addresses the question of the strength of social facilitation on grazing behavior by examining three specific aspects of the feeding behavior of the dairy cows: their intake, bite rate and time spent engaged in various activities.  These behavioral measurements are compared between two groups of cows fed one of two different supplement feeds when they are grazed as one commingled group versus in separate groups divided by supplement feeding regimen.  The objective of this project is to determine if these three aspects of their behavior differ when the cows graze commingled with cows on different feeding regimes or grazed solely with cows on a similar diet.  The results of this study may influence research methodology when comparing different supplemental feed programs.

Last modified December 13 2005 10:02 AM

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