Body Weight and Body Condition Score of Holstein Cows at Different Lactation Stages under Practice-Usual Feeding Conditions on Dairy Farms in Kosovo

FATOS KRASNIQI1,2, MUHAMET KAMBERI2*, ENKELEJDA EMIRI-SALLAKU1, RAGIP KASTRATI2, MYQEREM TAFAJ1

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1Department of Animal Production, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana, Albani

2University of Prishtina, Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary, 10000 Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

Abstract

Monitoring body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) of dairy cows during the production cycle are of crucial importance for the assessment of nutritional status of cows in dairy farms management. During the entire production cycle, BW and BSC were assessed in four dairy farms, involving 24 Holstein dairy cows in total, under usual feeding practices on dairy farms in Kosovo. 24 dairy cows in the third lactation (12 red Holstein and 12 Black Holstein) with calving interval within 15 days were included in this study. BW in kg and BCS (1-5 points) were measured 5 times in following intervals: at the day of calving (after calving); three times during the lactation in 100day intervals, as well as at the end of the study (after dry period) or last week before next calving. Results show variations in BW in different lactation stages. After calving, cows lost in average 11.68% of their initial BW (69.29 kg). Cows recovered 1.17%; 3.0% and 3.41% of the weight during the first, second and third lactation stage, respectively. The highest recovery was observed during the dry period (5.63%). At the end of the study (which corresponded also to the end of the dry period), final BW was 7.75 kg or 1.41% higher than before calving. The similar trend is also observed in terms of BCS. Cows entered into lactation with 2.75 BCS points and dropped to 1.75 points after the first 100d of lactation. During the study, BCS increased to 1.88, 2.25 and 2.88 at second, third lactation stage and dry period, respectively. In conclusion, although cows succeeded to satisfactorily recover BW and BCS at the end of study or before next calving, dynamics of changes were not in full compliance with the recommendations for Holstein dairy cows, due to the much higher recovery during the dry period.

 

Keywords:Holstein dairy cow; body weight; BCS; lactation stage.

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