Influence of the farm construction, farm regimen and season on the comfort indices of dairy cows

D. Dimov1*, Ch. Miteva1, Zh. Gergovska2

1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. 2Department of Animal Science – Ruminants and Dairy Farming, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

Abstract. The study was conducted at 3 cattle farms within three regions of Southern Bulgaria – Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Plovdiv. At all three farms, rearing of the cows was in free groups with individual rest cubicles in within a semi-open building. The daily regimen was different. At the three farms, the separate technological elements of the cubicles were different with the exception of the neck rail height, which was the same – 120 cm. The cubicle flooring was also different (2.14 m2, 2.31 m2 and 2.37 m2), as well as the bedding usage (straw mixed with composted manure, rubber mat and straw + composted manure). There was a significant influence of the farm and the season on the three comfort indices of cows (cow comfort index (CCI), stall usage index (CUI), stall standing index (SSI)). A significant effect of the hour of measurement was found only in the SUI. The small distance between the front of the cubicle and the neck rail (21 cm), and between the rear of the cubicle and the neck rail (140 cm) led to lower values of CCI (65.46% and 66.37%) and SUI (44.51% and 37.46%), as well as high values of SSI (17.52% and 13.35%). The type of the used bedding also had an influence – these indices had the highest values when the bedding was straw mixed with composted manure, instead of a rubber mat. The larger distance from the neck rail to the front of the cubicle (65 cm), the optimal distance from the neck rail to the rear of the cubicle (150 cm) and a soft bedding of straw mixed with composted manure provided better comfort to the cows, respectively CCI – 78.43%, SUI – 54.34% and SSI – 9.83%. Season had a significant influence on the values of the comfort indices, with lower values of CCI and SUI and higher values of SSI in the summer months, compared to the autumn. The feeding regimen and the milkings number also affected the comfort indices of dairy cows. Their evaluation must be conducted in accordance with the specific farm’s regimen.

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Fertility and hatchability of Japanese quail eggs under semi arid conditions in Nigeria

A. Raji1*, S. Mbap2, G. Mohammed1, I. Kwari1

1Department of Animal Science, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria
2Animal Production Programme, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria

Abstract. Some factors affecting the fertility and hatchability of Japanese quail eggs were studied at the Poultry Unit of the University of Maiduguri, Livestock Teaching and Research Farm. The mean values of fertility, hatchability of total and fertile eggs set, early, mid and late embryo mortalities were 74.33, 51.35, 69.09, 10.25, 7.57 and 12.30% respectively. Fertility was highest (84.92%) in the dry cold, least (35.58%) in the dry hot with wet season (80.75%) being intermediate. Similarly, hatchability of total and fertile eggs set were 67.18 and 79.11% in the dry cold, 14.11 and 39.66% in the dry hot and 46.86 and 58.03% in the wet season. Younger quails (≤ 10 and 11 – 22 weeks) had higher fertility and hatchability than older ones (23 – 34 and 35 – 52 weeks). Early embryo mortality also increased with age. Fertility and hatchability of eggs from caged birds was 89.54 and 62.34% as compared to 54.93 and 37.35% from deep litter reared birds and hatchability of fertile eggs was 69.63 and 67.96% respectively. Fertility and hatchability was highest (92.15 and 71.48%) for birds of ratio 1:3 and least for 1:5 (19.60 and 10%). Breeders weighing 181 – 200 g had the highest hatchability (79.22%) and ≤140 g the least (60.83%). In contrast, breeder’s ≤ 140 g had the highest late embryo mortality (20%) and 141 – 160 g the least (9.67%). Light brown quails had lower hatchability of total and fertile eggs (23.71% and 35.71%) as compared to wild type or normal colored ones (52.04% and 69.84%). Light brown, however, had higher (P<0.05) early and late embryo mortalities (21.43% and 35.71%) than wild type (10.0% and 11.77%). It can be concluded from this study that season, production system, flock age, mating ratio, color and breeder weight affects the fertility and hatchability of Japanese quail eggs. Thus, these factors have to be considered when raising breeders and collecting eggs for hatching.

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Effect of season, lactation period and number of lactation on mastitis incidence and milk yields in dairy cows

T. Penev1*, Zh. Gergovska2, I. Marinov2, V. Kirov3, K. Stankov4, Y. Mitev1, Ch. Miteva1
1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
3Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria
4Department of Management, Faculty of Economics, Trakia University, 6000, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Abstract. The aim of the present study was to study the effect of the season, period and number of lactation on mastitis incidence and milk yields in dairy cows. The climate in Bulgaria implies the presence of seasonal variations in mastitis prevalence in dairy cows, reared in free-stall barns all the year round: spring – 5.33%, summer – 4.9%, autumn – 4.2% and winter – 4.5%. The mastitis incidence during the lactation periods increased gradually from calving to the 120th lactation day. For the first 120 days of lactation, the mastitis incidence attained 26%. The reduction in milk yields after the lactation peak was associated with gradual decliine in cows affected by mastitis to 1.7% during the last month of lactation. With increasing the number of lactations, mastitis incidence also increased: 23.3% in 1st lactation cows, 26.7% in 2nd lactation cows, 48.9% in 3rd lactation cows and 43.3% in cows in fourth or subsequent lactation. The highest daily milk yield at the peak of lactation (34.05 kg) was established in cows affected by mastitis after the 180th lactation day, followed by cows with mastitis between the 60th and 180th lactation days (32.54 kg), and third came healthy cows (31.98 kg). The lowest daily milk yield at the peak of lactation was demonstrated in cows affected by mastitis in the first 60 days of the lactation (29.39 kg). It was proved that cows with exceptionally high milk yields in the beginning of lactation were more prone to mastitis at a later stage due to weakened systemic resistance and consequent disease. Cows with relatively lower milk yield during the lactation period (7580.3 kg) were more resistant to environmental factors, therefore were not affected by mastitis and produced highquality milk with lower costs vs those with highest milk yields affected by mastitis after the 180th day. These cows produced more milk (7607.9 kg) within a 305- day lactation, but the treatment costs could be hardly compensated. Cows in which mastitis occurred until the 60th and between the 60th and 180th lactation day, produced 7215.5 and 7484.1 kg milk, respectively. The average milk yield per lactation of healthy cows was by 137.83 kg higher than that of cows with mastitis. A statistically significant reduction in milk fat (Р < 0.05) and milk protein (Р < 0.001) between healthy and diseased cows was observed.

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Complement activity in Bulgarian local sheep related to season and breed

The studies were performed in 2008 on 308 sheep at the age of 2-4 years. Sheep from the following breeds were used: Karakachan, Tsigay, Replyan, Panagyurishte, Copper-red Shoumen, Karnobat, Pleven Blackhead, White Maritsa, Patch-faced Maritsa, Stara Zagora and Romanov. During the spring and summer, 6 sheep from each breed were used and during the summer – 20. The activity of the alternative pathway of complement activation was assayed by the method of Sotirov (1991). During the spring, the highest blood complement concentrations were determined in Panagyurishte (215,24 ± 5,22), White Maritsa (206,87 ± 13,12) and Copper-red Shoumen breeds (201,15 ± 8,88), and the lowest in Romanov (160,23 ± 7,44) and Pleven Blackhead breed – 164,09 ± 12,86 (р < 0,01). The highest summer complement levels were measured in Panagyurishte breed (218,801 ± 3,285 СН50), аnd the lowest – in Tsigay breed (167,144 ± 5,233 СН50) (р < 0,01). During the autumn, Karakachan breed were with the highest complement concentrations (205,79 ± 13,28), whereas Pleven Blackhead – with the lowest – 169,04 ± 10,10 (р < 0,01). Totally for all sheep studied, the average APCA concentrations were 190,87 ± 5,87 during the spring, 190,028 ± 8,284 СН50 during the summer and 191,24 ± 8,47 during the winter.

Complement activity in Bulgarian local sheep related to season and breed

L. Sotirov, V. Semerdjiev, Ts. Maslev, M. Iliev, G. Gerchev, I. Yankov, Ts. Koinarski, Ts.Hristova