Can pedometers detect estrus in dairy cattle housed in tie-stalls?
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Estrus detection is one area of the dairy industry that requires attention. Current estrus detection rates are as low as 35%. When estrus goes undetected animals are not inseminated at the correct time, thus reducing pregnancy rates and increasing costs to producers. One method to improve estrus detection is monitoring increases in activity during estrus. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to improve estrus detection rates in a tie-stall dairy facility using an automated pedometer system. The pedometers were validated against video records to ensure they could accurately measure activity in cows housed in tie-stalls. Once the pedometers were validated they were used to monitor cow activity changes throughout the predicted (induced by prostaglandin) estrus period. The activity of 19 dairy cows was observed throughout a 9 day period, surrounding estrus. Cow activity was measured using pedometers and 24hr video surveillance. Pedometer records were validated against video records: results show they are highly correlated for lying time and lying bouts (P < 0.001). Therefore, pedometers are accurate in monitoring cow activity in tie-stalls. Throughout the predicted estrus period stepping and lying time did not significantly change (P > 0.05); however, lying bouts significantly increased (P = 0.001). The overall activity during estrus, in cows housed in tie-stalls for 24 hours per day, did not significantly increase; therefore, pedometers are not useful in the detection of estrus in cows housed in tie-stalls for 24 hours per day.
Disclaimer: This is a class exercise based on modified or randomly generated datasets