Can feeding behavior tell you if a cow is going to get sick? You bet. A University of British Columbia study found that two weeks before calving - three weeks before clinical signs of metritis were even present - those cows that were going to get sick had reduced dry matter intake, says Trevor DeVries, dairy scientist at the University of Guelph in Canada. And in those cows with severe metritis, 81 percent of the variation in dry matter intake could be explained by variation in feeding time during the post-calving period. "We don't really know the cause and effect here," DeVries said at the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference in April. "But what we do know is that if you can get these cows to spend more time at the feed bunk, it's likely that the amount of feed they consume will also go up." This may potentially reduce the risk of disease in these cows as well.