Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
PAIVA, Fernanda Alves de et al. Effects of different milking management on metabolism, cortisol levels, and milk yield of Holstein cows. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.6, pp. 2376-2380. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982006000800025.
The effects of different milking management on metabolism, cortisol levels, and milk yield of Holstein cows were investigated in this trial. Eighteen Holstein cows and calves were randomly assigned to one of the following three treatments: T1) cows were separated from their calves 6 h after parturition but reunited with them for two daily periods of 30 minutes each; T2) cows were separated from their calves 6 h after parturition; or T3) cows were maintained with their calves during the first three days of lactation except at milking times. Blood samples were collected 168 h before parturition, at parturition (0 h) and at 24, 48, 72 and 96 h after parturition and analyzed for glucose, triglycerides, total protein, and cortisol. Milk yield was measured twice a day and the percentage of residual milk was estimated based on the first two milkings after weaning. Although plasma cortisol levels were greater at parturition (0 h) compared to the remaining sampling points, no significant differences were observed among treatments. Cows on T2 yielded more milk than those on T1 and T3 during the first four days of lactation with no difference in milk production thereafter. After weaning, the percentage of residual milk was higher on T1 and T3 showing that the exclusive use of milking machine after a nursing period appeared to negatively affect milk ejection. Concentration of plasma glucose was lower at 72 h on T2 while that of triglycerides was lower at 72 and 96 h on T3. The studied managements did not influence the cortisol levels and metabolism of cows and did not prejudice the milk production after the colostral period.
Keywords : nursing; milking machine; residual milk; stress; weaning.