Short communication: Calving site selection of multiparous, group-housed dairy cows is influenced by site of a previous calving
ABSTRACT A calving cow and her newborn calf appear to have an attracting effect on periparturient cows, which may potentially influence the functionality of future motivation-based calving pen designs. In this pilot study we examined whether calving site selection of group-housed Holstein dairy cows was affected by the site of a previous calving. Ten multiparous cows moved to 1 of 2 group pens 11 (range = 4–27) d before calving were included. Each pen consisted of an open area (9 × 9 m) connected to 6 secluded areas (4.5 × 3 m each), where cows could move freely between all areas. Time of calving, location of the breaking of the amniotic sac, as well as the place of birth were recorded. In all but 1 case cows calved within a distance of 1 cow length from where the previous calving took place, suggesting that the cows did not select calving site at random. These preliminary observations indicate that choice of calving site may be affected by the site of a previous calving, potentially explained by the presence of amniotic fluids.
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