Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances

Year: 2005
Volume: 4
Issue: 4
Page No. 441 - 447

Using Conditioned Reinforcement as a Way to Make Dairy Cows to Leave an Automatic Milking Unit

Authors : H. H. Oostra , B. Forkman , K. S?llvik , A. Herlin and J-E. Englund

Abstract: Cows milked in an Automatic Milking System (AMS) have to leave the Automatic Milking Unit (AMU) before the next cow can enter. Cows that delay entering or leaving will lower the daily capacity in terms of number of successful milkings. In this study, the effects of a neutral stimuli (NS; acoustic signal) or a conditioned reinforcement (CR; an acoustic signal preceding a light negative reinforcement, such as a flashing light and/or a moving rubber tube on the back of the cow) on dairy cows known for leaving the AMU slowly, i.e., not leaving within 10 sec after the exit gate had opened, was studied. On average it was observed that up to 3 min elapsed before a cow left the AMU after a successful milking without the use of a CR. We found that this time could be substantially reduced by using a CR. Primiparous cows stayed in the AMU after milking between 109 and 125 sec without the CR and after the introduction of the NS or a CR they stayed on average between 12 and 32 sec. The time multiparous cows remained in the AMU after milking terminated was reduced from 178 and 193 sec to 25 and 48 sec when the CR was applied. No long-term effect was seen in multiparous cows receiving only the NS. This indicated that for the effect to be sustained, the acoustic signal had to be paired with a negative reinforcement, such as a CR. Neither the NS nor the CR affected the times for the animals to enter the AMU. Using a conditioned stimuli in an AMS between 100 and 150 minutes daily would be available for additional milkings

How to cite this article:

H. H. Oostra , B. Forkman , K. S?llvik , A. Herlin and J-E. Englund , 2005. Using Conditioned Reinforcement as a Way to Make Dairy Cows to Leave an Automatic Milking Unit . Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 4: 441-447.

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