Measuring stress level of dairy cows during milking using by geometric indices of heart rate variability

Levente Kovács, Luca Kézér, János Tőzsér

Abstract


Abstract

Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) were investigated in cows (n=32, age: 3.86 years, milk production: 35±2.5 kg, DIM: 150±15) milked in a parallel milking parlour. Geometric parameters of HRV (SD1 and SD2) were calculated using Poincare graphs. HRV indices of resting 1 h after midday milking (reference period) were compared to those measured during the different phases of the evening milking (driving; in the holding pen; udder preparation; milking; after milking in the milking stall). There was no difference between the reference period and the different phases of milking in animal welfare terms. During the reference period SD2 (198.5 ms) was significantly higher (p<0.05) than every other measured period suggesting an increasing parasympathetic tone after milking. This parasympathetic predominance decreased with time of the day (1.5 h after milking). SD2 was significantly affected by parity, by the breeding bull (p<0.01) and by milk production (p<0.05). SD2 was notably higher (102.8 ms) in multiparous cows than in primiparous cows (p<0.017; α=0.005) during resting and milking. Results suggested that a conventional milking process is not really stressful for cows. Primiparous cows were more susceptible of milking process than multiparous ones. SD2 is a good marker of vagus activity and affected by several independent factors.

Keywords


heart rate variability; geometric measures; dairy cow; milking; stress

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Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies publish open access articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (read full legal code).


LUCRARI STIINTIFICE ZOOTEHNIE SI BIOTEHNOLOGII (SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ANIMAL SCIENCE AND BIOTECHNOLOGIES)

ISSN print 1841 - 9364
ISSN online 2344 - 4576
ISSN-L  1841 - 9364
(former ISSN 1221-5287, E-ISSN 1841-9364)

PUBLISHER: AGROPRINT Timisoara, Romania
PAPER ACCESS: Full text articles available for free
FREQUENCY: Semiannual
PUBLICATION LANGUAGE: English
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Banat´s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
Faculty of Animal Science and Biotechnologies
300645, Timişoara, Calea Aradului 119, Romania

E-mail: spasb [at] animalsci-tm.ro
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