Author(s): A Nikkhah
Feeding frequency (FF) remains an esoteric strategy in modern dairy production, because of multiple management factors affecting cow responses. The objective was to determine FF effects on eating, ruminating, and chewing behaviors of dairy cows in a non-competitive environment. Eight multiparous, early-lactation Holstein cows housed in individual box stalls received either once daily (1×) at 07:00 h or 4 times daily (4×) at 01:00, 07:00, 13:00 and 19:00 h a chopped alfalfa hay based total mixed ration (TMR) in a crossover design with two 20-d periods. Once instead of four times feeding significantly increased dry matter intake (21.1 vs. 20.0 ± 0.5 kg/d) and elongated the first meal (106 versus 49 ± 21.5 min). Daily time spent eating (303 ± 37 min/d), ruminating (314 ± 34 min/d), total chewing (617 ± 55 min/d), laying (562 ± 57 min/d) and standing (666 ± 49 min/d) were not different between treatments. Findings provide novel evidence on feeding behavior response to FF in earlylactation cows under noncompetitive individual feeding and housing.