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Traulsen I.,University of Kiel | Breitenberger S.,Linz Center of Mechatronics | Auer W.,MKW electronics GmbH | Stamer E.,TiDa Tier und Daten GmbH | And 2 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2016

Lameness is an important issue in group-housed sows. Automatic detection systems are a beneficial diagnostic tool to support management. The aim of the present study was to evaluate data of a positioning system including acceleration measurements to detect lameness in group-housed sows. Data were acquired at the Futterkamp research farm from May 2012 until April 2013. In the gestation unit, 212 group-housed sows were equipped with an ear sensor to sample position and acceleration per sow and second. Three activity indices were calculated per sow and day: Path length walked by a sow during the day (Path), number of squares (25×25 cm) visited during the day (Square) and variance of the acceleration measurement during the day (Acc). In addition, data on lameness treatments of the sows and a weekly lameness score were used as reference systems. To determine the influence of a lameness event, all indices were analysed in a linear random regression model. Test day, parity class and day before treatment had a significant influence on all activity indices (P<0.05). In healthy sows, indices Path and Square increased with increasing parity, whereas variance slightly decreased. The indices Path and Square showed a decreasing trend in a 14-day period before a lameness treatment and to a smaller extent before a lameness score of 2 (severe lameness). For the index acceleration, there was no obvious difference between the lame and non-lame periods. In conclusion, positioning and acceleration measurements with ear sensors can be used to describe the activity pattern of sows. However, improvements in sampling rate and analysis techniques should be made for a practical application as an automatic lameness detection system. © The Animal Consortium 2016.


Pahl C.,University of Kiel | Hartung E.,University of Kiel | Grothmann A.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon | Mahlkow-Nerge K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Haeussermann A.,University of Kiel
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2014

Monitoring rumination behavior serves multiple purposes in feeding and herd management of dairy cows. The process of calving is a major event for cows, and a detailed understanding of alterations in behavioral patterns of animals in the time around calving is important in calving detection. The objective of this study was to describe the short-term changes in rumination patterns in dairy cows immediately before and after parturition. In total, 17 cows were fitted with rumination sensors that were able to monitor rumination time, number of rumination boli, and number of rumination jaw movements. Rumination time was decreased in the last 4. h antepartum and in the first 8. h postpartum. Cows stopped ruminating 123. ±. 58. min (mean ± standard deviation) before calving and resumed ruminating 355. ±. 194. min after calving. The number of rumination jaw movements and boli per day were decreased in the 24-h period postpartum. Rumination rate, the number of rumination jaw movements per rumination minute, and the number of boli per rumination minute changed little around calving. The calving event primarily influenced the duration and frequency of various rumination characteristics but not rumination intensity. Among detected characteristics, rumination time showed the greatest potential for monitoring of calving events. © 2014 American Dairy Science Association.


Pahl C.,University of Kiel | Hartung E.,University of Kiel | Grothmann A.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon | Mahlkow-Nerge K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Haeussermann A.,University of Kiel
Animal | Year: 2015

Monitoring of feeding and rumination behaviour can provide useful information for dairy herd management. The feeding behaviour of dairy cows can be recorded by different techniques, such as video cameras, weighing troughs or chewing sensors. Among feeding characteristics, individual feed intake of cows is of utmost interest, but as weighing troughs have high space and cost requirements they are used primarily in research studies. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether records on feeding time or chewing activity or a combination of both contain enough information to estimate feed intake with sufficient accuracy. Feed intake and feeding time per cow were recorded by means of weighing troughs. Concurrently, chewing activity of seven cows was recorded by MSR-ART pressure sensors during five to eight measuring days per cow. Feeding and chewing behaviour were evaluated in time slots (1 min) and additionally assigned to feeding bouts for further analysis. The 1 min time slots were classified into feeding/no feeding or chewing/no chewing by the two systems, and agreement was found in 92.2% of the records. On average, cows spent 270±39 min/day at the feeding troughs and chewed 262±48 min/day. The average fresh matter intake (FMI) was 49.6±5.1 kg/day. Feed intake was divided into 9.7 bouts/day during which cows fed in average 27.8±21.7 min/bout and chewed 27.0±23.1 min/bout. The correlation between FMI and feeding time was r=0.891 and between FMI and chewing time r=0.780 overall cows. Hence, both systems delivered suitable information for estimating feed intake. © The Animal Consortium 2015


Pahl C.,University of Kiel | Hartung E.,University of Kiel | Grothmann A.,ART Agroscope Reckenholz Tänikon | Mahlkow-Nerge K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Haeussermann A.,University of Kiel
Precision Livestock Farming 2013 - Papers Presented at the 6th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2013 | Year: 2013

The detection of rumination behaviour serves multiple purposes in feeding and herd management of dairy cows and can be recorded with non-invasive methods. The process of calving is a major event for cows and knowledge of alterations in behavioural patterns of animals in the time around calving is of great importance for a detailed understanding. The objective of this study was to describe the changes of rumination patterns in dairy cows in the 24-h period before and the 24-h period after parturition in comparison to a reference period. Altogether 17 cows were fitted with ART-MSR rumination sensors, able to monitor rumination time (rt), number of rumination boli and number of rumination jaw movements (rjm). Most obvious differences concerning decreased rumination time were found in the 6 h before and in the 6 h after parturition. Rumination time returned to base level in the second part of the 24-h period following parturition. The number of rjm and boli per day was reduced on the 24-h period postpartum. Rumination rate, which is number of rjm per rumination minute (rm), and the number of boli per rm did not change around calving. Cows stopped ruminating 122.9 +/- 58.2 min before calving and restarted ruminating 355.1 +/- 193.9 min afterwards. The results underlined that rumination behaviour was altered in the hours around parturition.


Pahl C.,University of Kiel | Hartung E.,University of Kiel | Mahlkow-Nerge K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Haeussermann A.,University of Kiel
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2015

Against the background of decreasing reproduction efficiency, estrus detection is gaining increased importance. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes of feeding characteristics and rumination time in dairy cows in the days around estrus. Feeding characteristics were recorded by weighing troughs, and rumination time by acoustic sensors. Analysis included data from 25 primiparous and 37 multiparous cows, which were successfully inseminated (day of insemination = d 0). Feeding time and rumination time were decreased on d -1 and 0, feed intake, and feeding rate on d 0. Primiparous and multiparous cows differed in their reference values, but their feeding and rumination times on the day of insemination were reduced to similar extents. Rumination time was reduced in a time frame of 30 h around estrus whereby the main drop was found during the time period between 0600 h on d -1 and 1200 h on d 0. The change of almost all evaluated feeding characteristics and rumination time around estrus indicated their potential for useful addition in early detection of estrus. © 2015 American Dairy Science Association.


Bohnenkamp A.-L.,University of Kiel | Traulsen I.,University of Kiel | Meyer C.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Muller K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Krieter J.,University of Kiel
Animal | Year: 2013

The present study was designed to analyze the growth performance, behavioral patterns and intensity of injuries of weaned pigs (26 days) during a rearing period of 6 weeks. The farrowing system (group housing (GH) v. single housing (SH)) and the post-weaning regrouping weight class (light, medium, heavy) were considered as the main factors. A number of 120 GH-pigs and 120 SH-pigs were kept in three batches (20 pens, 12 pigs each). The GH- And SH-pigs were divided by weight into three groups: light (5 to ≤7 kg), medium (>7 to ≤9 kg) and heavy (>9 to ≤12 kg), with two pigs of six different litters in each pen. The pigs were weighed individually at weaning (week 1) and during rearing (weeks 2, 3 and 7). The feed conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated between weeks 1 and 7. The duration and number of fights (NF) per pen and hour were determined by continuous sampling (40 h after weaning). Lesions of the integument were scored into four classes (none, minor, medium, severe) and recorded at weaning and 48 h afterwards. The farrowing system had no effect on the weights in week 1 (GH: 7.8 kg v. SH: 7.7 kg; week as linear, quadratic regression nested within housing systems) or in week 7 (GH: 29.4 kg v. SH: 28.6 kg). The body weights were influenced significantly by the weaning weight class (light: 11.7 kg (s.e.m.: 0.30), medium: 14.8 kg (s.e.m.: 0.22), heavy: 17.3 kg (s.e.m.: 0.26)). The FCR of the GH-pigs was 1.64 (s.e.m.: 0.03) and 1.58 (s.e.m.: 0.03) for SH-pigs. A reduced agonistic behavior of the GH-pigs was observed with 2.1 fights per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 0.07) v. the SH-pigs with 4.6 fights per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 0.05). The fight duration of the GH-pigs with 10.3 s per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 1.07) was significantly lower in comparison to the SH-pigs with 18.8 s per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 1.06). The SH-pigs had more new skin lesions at the shoulders than the GH-pigs 48 h after weaning (P < 0.05). In conclusion, early mixing of unacquainted litters during lactation had no influence on their growth performance during rearing but reduced agonistic behavior and lesion score difference during the first 2 days after weaning. No significant interaction between the farrowing system and weaning weight class was detected with regard to growth performance and NF. © The Animal Consortium 2012.


Krawutschke M.,University of Kiel | Weiher N.,University of Kiel | Thaysen J.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Loges R.,University of Kiel | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural Science | Year: 2013

Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) silage usually contains lower contents of non-protein nitrogen (NPN) compared with other forage legumes. This is often attributed to the polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity in red clover, although in most field studies the PPO activity was not measured. Therefore, a laboratory ensiling experiment with three red clover cultivars and one white clover cultivar as control grown in two management systems (with and without mechanical stress) over 2 consecutive years was conducted. Fresh, wilted and ensiled clover herbage was sampled at four cutting dates per year to determine the crude protein (CP) fractions according to the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System. The specific PPO activity was measured photometrically in fresh clover leaves. The content of CP fraction A (NPN) increased from fresh over wilted to ensiled clover herbage at the expense of the content of CP fraction B (true protein), irrespective of species, cultivar and year. The most important source of variation for all CP fractions and the calculated rumen-undegradable protein contents was generally the herbage condition, except for CP fraction C (unavailable protein). White clover silage consisted of higher contents of CP fraction A and lower contents of CP fraction B3 in CP compared with red clover silage. As a result, the calculated rumen-undegradable protein content of white clover silage was lower than that of all red clover cultivars. In conclusion, the extent of proteolysis during ensiling among the silages made from the herbage of different red clover cultivars was primarily influenced by the stage of maturity at harvesting and the degree of wilting at ensiling. The variation in specific PPO activity could not be related to the extent of proteolysis. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012.


Bohnenkamp A.-L.,University of Kiel | Traulsen I.,University of Kiel | Meyer C.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Muller K.,Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig Holstein | Krieter J.,University of Kiel
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2013

The aim was to compare a group housing system (GROUP) and a conventional single housing (SINGLE) for lactating sows with regard to the performance of sows and piglets. Data of 132 cross-breed sows were collected in 11 batches with 6 sows in GROUP and SINGLE in each batch. The GROUP had single pens (4.7 m2) with electronically controlled crates and a shared running area (13 m2). The sows in GROUP were retained in the crates 3 d prepartum until 1 d postpartum. Piglets were able to leave the single pens on d 5 postpartum. Recorded traits per litter included the number of piglets born alive and weaned, piglet losses, and individual BW at birth and weaning. In addition, body condition and back fat thickness before and after lactation (26 d) and the daily feed intake of the sows were measured. Gilts and sows were analyzed separately. The reproductive traits did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between the farrowing systems with exception of the weaning weights (GROUP = 7.6 ± 0.12 kg vs. SINGLE = 8.1 ± 0.12 kg; P < 0.05). Group housed and SINGLE sows had 14.4 ± 0.47 and 14.6 ± 0.45 piglets born alive, respectively. In both housing systems, sows weaned 11.4 piglets (SEM = 0.14 and 0.13 for GROUP and SINGLE), respectively. Most piglet losses (72%) occurred during the first 3 d postpartum. At this point in time, piglets in GROUP and SINGLE were housed in single pens. In the single pens, GROUP sows could leave the farrowing crate whereas SINGLE sows were fixed in crates during the whole lactation. In total, piglet losses were not significantly different during lactation between GROUP and SINGLE treatments (2.2 ± 0.05 and 2.4 ± 0.05 piglets per litter, respectively). Sows housed in GROUP had a significantly lower (P < 0.05) BCS (2.2 ± 0.05) after lactation compared with SINGLE sows (BCS = 2.4 ± 0.05). This development could not be verified using the back fat thickness value at weaning (GROUP = 14.4 ± 0.25 mm vs. SINGLE = 14.6 ± 0.23 mm). Daily feed intake was significantly greater for GROUP sows (6.4 ± 0.08 kg per day) than SINGLE sows (6.15 ± 0.08 kg per day; P < 0.05). In conclusion, the performance of GROUP and SINGLE sows was similar with the exception of lighter weaning weights in GROUP housing. © 2013 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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