Cows that spend less time at the feed bunk before calving may be trying to tell you they are at risk for developing metritis after they calve, according to research from the University of British Columbia.

The research, reported in the August Journal of Dairy Science, is perhaps the first published study to show a link between feeding behavior and early detection of illness in transition cows. The study revealed these findings:

  • During the first three weeks after calving, 69 percent of the cows in the study showed some signs of metritis.
  • These cows spent on average 22 fewer minutes per day at the bunk during the transition period ─ beginning two weeks before and ending three weeks after calving ─ than healthy cows.
  • For every 10-minute decrease in average daily feeding time prior to calving, cows were twice as likely to be diagnosed with metritis after they freshened.

August Journal of Dairy Science