Factors Affecting Transition Success in Tie stall Herds

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Exhibit Hall AB (Kansas City Convention Center)
Debora E Santschi , Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada
Marie-Soleil Perreault , Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
Steve Adam , Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada
René Lacroix , Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada
Daniel M Lefebvre , Valacta, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, Canada
Abstract Text: The transition period is the most critical time in the lactation cycle of a cow. It is generally accepted that a successful transition will have a positive impact on performances in the following lactation. Several years ago, Nordlund and collaborators have developped the Transition Cow Index® (TCI): a tool to objectively evaluate transition. These authors have previously identified feedbunk space, number of group changes and size and comfort of rest area as the main factors affecting transition success in freestall herds. The aim of the present study was to identify factors that have an impact on transition success specifically in tie stall herds. Tie stall dairy herds (n=48) from Québec, Canada were selected based on their average TCI to have high and low TCI herds. Each herd was visited and producers were asked to complete a survey on their management decisions and practices (examples: number of place changes, number of daily feed push ups, boluses). In addition, several observations and measures (examples: stall dimensions, type and amount of bedding, lighting) were taken on each farm. Results suggest that nervousness of cows was the most important factor affecting transition success (calm vs nervous cows, observed on the day of the visit; P = 0.04). Use of straw and woodshavings as bedding at any stage of the transition period significantly increased TCI (P≤0.03) whereas type of flooring (any type of mat vs concrete) had no impact (P≥0.15). Providing a Rumensin bolus to dry cows tended to improve TCI (P=0.09). Number of place changes during the transition period (P=0.09) and number of times feed is pushed back (P=0.07) tended to positively impact TCI. Stall dimension factors significantly correlated with TCI are reported in the table below.
Factor Corr. Coeff. P value
Stall length far-off cows 0.35 0.02
Stall length precalving cows 0.40 <0.01
Stall width precalving cows 0.32 0.03
Stall width fresh cows 0.32 0.02

Keywords: Transition success, TCI,Tie stall