Effect of mammary stimulation on dairy cows and heifers exposed to a lactation induction protocol


Cows (n = 21), dried off for a minimum of 45 days, and nulliparous heifers (n = 26), at ages > 18 months old, were placed on a 12-day Lactation Induction (LI) protocol. One group of animals (including both cows and heifers) received 3-minute mammary gland stimulation, along with the LI protocol. Another group, again including both cows and heifers, received no stimulation only the LI protocol This consisted of two injections of prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α; 25 mg) 11 days apart, followed by subcutaneous injections of 17β-estradiol (0.1 mg/kg BW/d) and progesterone (0.25 mg/kg BW/d) beginning 1 day later and continuing for seven (7) days. After this step, all animals received another injection of PGF2α on day 8, followed by intramuscular injections of reserpine (5 mg/d) and dexamethasone (20 mg/d) on each of days 9 to 12. All animals were milked, beginning on day 13, for a period of 154 days. For all animals, the success rate for lactation induction was 78% ± 6.3% and the mean weekly milk yield was 78.2 kg. Neither value was affected by mammary stimulation. Parity did not significantly impact on the success rate but it did affect the mean weekly milk yield. Milk yield varied significantly (p < 0.001) with week, peaking during week 9. Peak milk production and persistency were 101.6 kg ± 5.9 kg and 16.9 weeks ± 2.4 weeks respectively, with neither being significantly (α = 0.05 level) affected by stimulation or by parity. However, heifers (at 8.2 weeks ± 1.0 week) tended (p = 0.1) to reach peak milk production earlier than cows (at 10.7 weeks ± 1.3). The milk produced was sold at a net profit per animal treated of $2206.31 TT. Hence, one can conclude that a Lactation Induction protocol can be a useful management tool to increase production and profitability of dairy operations in the tropics.

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Ramgattie, R. , Siew, N. , Diptee, M. , Stoute, V. and Knights, M. (2014) Effect of mammary stimulation on dairy cows and heifers exposed to a lactation induction protocol. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 4, 1-12. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2014.41001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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