Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Dairy Science

Committee Chair(s)

Robert C. Lamb


Robert C. Lamb


Forty-two springer Holstein heifers were grouped in threes by sire, body weight, and due date. One of each group served as a control (no exercise). One of each group was exercised at 5.5 kilometers per hour for 1.6 kilometers per day, 5 days per week beginning 4 weeks before expected calving date . The third member of each group was exercised the same as the second member, but exercise was continued for 10 days after calving. Exercise was in a circular lane with a motor driven gate. Prepartum exercise increased ease of parturition and reduced the length of time from calving to release of the placenta. Exercise resulted in smaller uterine horn diameters at 42 days postpartum, but had no significant effect on measures of fertility such as days open or services per conception . Exercise did not appear to reduce severity of udder edema, but edema was first noticeable in control heifers. Milk production for the first 50 days after calving showed no affect from prepartum exercise, but continuing exercise after calving reduced milk production 2.4 kg per day (P< .05). Grain was fed according to production, hence grain consumption was also significantly lower for the postpartum exercise group. Hay consumption for the prepartum exercise group was significantly lower than for controls. Prepartum exercise significantly increased feed utilization efficiency as compared to postpartum exercise.



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