Mastellone, V., Musco, N., Infascelli, F. et al. 2022. Higher forage:concentrate ratio and space availability may favor positive behaviors in dairy cows. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 51, 16-22.
A novel livestock management system (LMS) for dairy cows mainly based on a high forage:concentrate ratio, no silage, and large outdoor paddocks, has been introduced in Italy during the last five years. It was proved that such system, further than improving the quality of milk, benefits the health status of cows. The goal of the present research was to compare the behavioral responses of a group of animals kept with the LMS and outdoor paddocks of 200 m2, and cows reared in a traditional semi-intensive manner and outdoor paddocks of 100 m2. The study was carried out on Italian Friesian cows analyzing the feeding and social behaviors and the locomotor activity. The statistical analysis of locomotor activity showed that the HFC group spent lower time lying down and standing and higher time walking; they also showed a longer rumination time and spent less time drinking. Furthermore, the HFC group displayed longer allogrooming and social rubbing times. Results suggest that the novel LMS could be the basis for an improvement of the cows' welfare.