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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Walking activity at estrus and subsequent fertility in dairy cows.

Poor detection of estrus, still a major problem in the dairy industry, has prompted the development of electronic estrous detection technologies. One of the features of estrous behavior is a marked increase in walking activity. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the effects of various management factors on walking activity increase at estrus, and the relationship between this trait and fertility. Data from 5883 artificial inseminations (AI) conducted in two high-producing dairy herds were analyzed. Detection of estrus was performed using a pedometer system. Of the total AI investigated, 2072 (35.2%) resulted in pregnancy. The following data were recorded for each animal at AI: herd, lactation number, milk production (average for the 3 days prior to AI), lactation stage (early, mid, and late lactation), previous estrous synchronization (cloprostenol or progesterone releasing intravaginal device [PRID] for animals showing estrus within 7 days of treatment), season (warm versus cool period), insemination number following parturition, inseminating bull, inseminator, and pedometer measurements. Variables were screened for associations with walking activity by analysis of variance (ANOVA) through generalized linear model procedures (PROC GLM). Increased parity and milk production, and insemination during the warm period were associated with lower pedometer measurements. No significant effects of the herd, estrous synchronization, and lactation stage were observed. The link between walking activity and fertility was determined by applying logistic regression models. We detected no significant effects of herd, milk production, estrous synchronization, lactation stage, and inseminator on pregnancy rate. A higher lactation and insemination number, and insemination during the warm period were negatively correlated with the pregnancy rate. The likelihood of pregnancy was greater when semen from one of the bulls was used and when physical activity at estrus was increased. Our findings indicate that cow and management factors contribute intensely to walking activity at estrus, and also reveal a close link between increased walking activity and fertility.[1]


  1. Walking activity at estrus and subsequent fertility in dairy cows. López-Gatius, F., Santolaria, P., Mundet, I., Yániz, J.L. Theriogenology (2005) [Pubmed]
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