SUMMARY
  • Transition cows are at a greater risk of disease or involuntary culling following any disruption to eating and social interactions.
  • In this study (Stivanin et al., 2019) Orego-Stim supplementation of transition dairy cows’ diets resulted in a higher milk production post-calving and fewer aggressive episodes pre-calving.
  • Therefore, Orego-Stim may support enhanced welfare through the transition period.

 

BACKGROUND
  • Transition cows are particularly susceptible to increased disease challenge following disruption to feeding and social behaviours.
  • This trial was undertaken to evaluate the effect of Orego-Stim or green tea extract on feed intake, feeding and social behaviours and health status of transition dairy cows.
  • Orego-Stim Powder is a high quality eubiotic composed of 100% natural oregano essential oil.

 

TRIAL DESIGN

A trial was carried out at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in the hot season, from October 2015 to January 2016. 24 Jersey cows (approx. 400kg bodyweight, 2.7 lactations) were split into one of three treatments. Control (standard diet with no additives), OS (10g per day of Orego-Stim Powder) or GT (5g per day Green Tea extract), from 21 days pre-calving to 21 days post-calving. Bodyweight and body condition were measured weekly, with production and feeding behaviour assessed daily. Animal health and welfare was continually monitored.

Figure 1. Number of visits to the trough, number of visits without eating and number of aggressive interactions per day pre-calving. Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.01). Figure 2. Dry Matter Intake (DMI) (kg DM/day), milk yield (kg/day) and energy-corrected milk yield (ECM) (kg/day) post-calving. Different letters indicate significant difference (p<0.01).
RESULTS
  • There was no effect of OS or GT on bodyweight or body condition at any time.
  • Pre-calving, cows offered OS visited the feed trough less often but also had fewer visits without eating (Figure 1) and tended to spend more time ruminating than other groups.
  • Cows receiving OS and GT had fewer aggressive episodes than Control cows (Figure 1).
  • Post-calving, cows receiving OS tended to have a higher dry matter intake, milk yield and energy-corrected milk yield than Control (p<0.10) cows and significantly higher than GT supplemented cows (Figure 2).
  • Overall, none of the treatments had a significant effect on cow health, however, when there was a health issue, cows receiving OS took 8 days longer to show any symptoms compared to the other groups.
  • Orego-Stim may support enhanced welfare during the transition period.

 

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