As these stocking densities would not reflect what a cow would likely face when moving between pens in commercial facilities, there remain unanswered questions. Evaluating the response of cows moving among at-capacity pens and varying degrees of overstocking would provide a basis for estimating the cost to a cow of regrouping within an environment that she will likely be challenged with.
On the other hand, these data do suggest the importance of keeping hospital pens and fresh pens understocked to reduce the challenges inherent in these pens, especially as it will likely be a smaller pen than a cow’s normal home pen.
Peter Krawczel was a graduate student at Miner Institute and earned his Ph.D. in animal behavior from the University of Vermont in 2011. Peter is now a Dairy Research and Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.