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Diet digestibility, rate of passage, and eating and rumination behavior of Jersey and Holstein cows

Aikman, P. C., Reynolds, C. K. ORCID: and Beever, D. E. (2008) Diet digestibility, rate of passage, and eating and rumination behavior of Jersey and Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 91 (3). pp. 1103-1114. ISSN 0022-0302

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3168/jds.2007-0724


Diet digestibility and rate of passage, eating and rumination behavior, dry matter intake (DMI), and lactation performance were compared in 6 Jersey and 6 Holstein multiparous cows. Cows were fed gestation diets according to body weight (BW) beginning 7 wk before expected calving and ad libitum amounts of a lactation diet postpartum. Diet digestibility and rate of passage were measured in 5-d periods at wk 5 prepartum and wk 6 and 14 of lactation. Eating and ruminating behavior was measured over 5-d periods at wk 5 and 2 prepartum and wk 2, 6, 10, and 14 of lactation. Milk yield and DMI were higher in Holsteins, but milk energy output per kilogram of metabolic BW (BW0.75) and intake capacity (DMI/kg of BW) did not differ between breeds. Holsteins spent longer ruminating per day compared with Jerseys, but daily eating time did not differ between breeds. Jerseys spent more time eating and ruminating per unit of ingested feed. The duration and number of meals consumed did not differ between breeds, but the meals consumed by Jerseys were distributed more evenly throughout each 24-h period, providing a more regular supply of feed to the rumen. Feed passed through the digestive tract more quickly in Jerseys compared with Holsteins, suggesting particle breakdown and rumen outflow were faster in Jerseys, but this may also reflect the relative size of their digestive tract. Neutral detergent fiber digestibility was greater in Jerseys, despite the shorter rumen retention time, but digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, starch, and N did not differ between breeds. Utilization of digested N for tissue retention was higher at wk 5 prepartum and lower at wk 14 of lactation in Jerseys. In contrast to numerous published studies, intake capacity of Jerseys was not higher than that of Holsteins, but in the present study, cows were selected on the basis of equal expected milk energy yield per kilogram of metabolic BW. Digestibility of neutral detergent fiber and rate of digesta passage were higher in Jerseys, probably as a consequence of increased mastication per unit of feed consumed in Jerseys and their smaller size.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8249
Uncontrolled Keywords:rumination, digestibility, rate of passage, Jersey, LACTATING DAIRY-COWS, FRIESIAN COWS, GRASS-SILAGE, FEED-INTAKE, AD-LIB, MILK, BREEDS, RUMEN, PERFORMANCE, RUMINANTS

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