Stress during milking not only affects the welfare of the cows, but also has a negative influence on milk ejection, resulting in an increase in residual milk which may impair the animal's health, as well. In this study the authors evaluated the stress response of milking cows (n=9) during the evening milking procedure in a herringbone milking system. Changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) during early afternoon (reference period) were compared to those measured during the different parts of the evening milking: 1. before the evening milking, in the milking parlour, waiting for being milked, 2. during milking, 3. in the milking parlour after being let off from the milking stall. HR was significantly higher during the entire evening milking procedure compared to the reference period. This difference is most probably due to the circadian rhythm of HR. HRV during milking did not differ significantly from the reference period, but HRV was significantly lower during the waiting period in the milking parlour after milking. The results suggest that the evening milking was not really stressful for these animals. The greatest stress level was caused by the anticipation for getting out from the milking parlour. The authors also discuss the effect of certain illnesses, e.g. subclinical ketosis, and heat stress on heart rate variability and on the stress-coping ability during milking. Results of these studies may help the interpretation of the recent findings and may also contribute to differentiate acute and chronic stress.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Magyar Allatorvosok Lapja|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 1 2012|
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