Designing better water troughs: 2. Surface area and height, but not depth, influence dairy cows' preference

Dayane L. Teixeira, Maria J. Hötzel, Luiz Carlos Pinheiro MacHado Filho

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water consumption affects milk production of dairy cows. In a previous study, we found that dairy cows preferred to drink from larger than from smaller troughs and that intake was higher when water was offered in the larger, preferred troughs. In this study, we investigated some of the trough's characteristics that may underlie such preference. The volume of water consumed, time spent drinking and number of sips taken by cows (n = 18) were compared when water was offered in two troughs differing in surface area (1.13 m 2 or 0.28 m2; experiment 1), height (30 cm or 60 cm; experiment 2) or depth (30 cm or 60 cm; experiment 3). In each experiment, each cow was tested individually for six consecutive days with the troughs randomly placed in each side. In experiment 1, cows took more sips (P < 0.01), spent more time drinking (P < 0.01) and drank more water (P < 0.01) from the trough with larger surface area. In experiment 2, cows took more sips from the higher than from the lower trough (P < 0.02) and showed a tendency to consume more water (P = 0.08) and to spend more time drinking (P = 0.08) from the higher than from the lower trough. Trough depth did not influence any of the variables recorded. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume96
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dairy cows
  • Drinking behaviour
  • Preference test
  • Water intake
  • Water trough

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