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Effect of changes in milking routine on milking related behaviour and milk removal in Tunisian dairy dromedary camels

  • Moufida Atigui (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Pierre-Guy Marnet (a2) (a3), Naziha Ayeb (a1), Touhami Khorchani (a1) and Mohamed Hammadi (a1)...

Abstract

We studied the effects of changes in the milking routine (lack or presence of 30-s prestimulation, 0 or 1, 2 or 4-min delay between preparation and cluster attachment) and environmental perturbation (unusual loud sounds capable of frightening animals just after stall entry or during the course of milking) on milk removal and milking-related behaviour in dairy dromedary camels. A 30-s prestimulation decreased incidence of bimodal milk flow curves and increased occurrence of the best milk ejection patterns with higher milk flow but had limited effect on milk production in our well-trained animals within a good machine milking setting. However, unusual sounds heard from the beginning of milking or even after milk ejection caused inhibition or disruption of milk removal and modification of camels’ behaviour. Milk ejection was significantly delayed (1·58±0·17 min), residual milk increased over 40% of total milk yield and average and peak milk flow rates were significantly lowered when unusual noises were heard from the beginning of milking. These environmental perturbations increased signs of vigilance and the number of attempts to escape the milking parlour. Delaying cluster attachment for over 1 min after the end of udder preparation caused serious milk losses. Up to 62% of total milk was withheld in the udder when the delay reached 4 min. Average and peak milk flow rates also decreased significantly with delayed milking. Signs of vigilance and attempts to escape from the milking parlour appeared when camels waited for over 2 min. After a 4-min delay, camels showed signs of acute stress. Defaecation prior to milk ejection (solid faeces) and rumination during milking can be used to assess camels’ milk ejection during milking. Animal welfare and milking efficiency can be ensured when camels are pre-stimulated, milked in calm conditions and with cluster attachment within a maximum of a 1-min delay after stimulation

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Corresponding author

* For correspondence; e-mail: marnet@agrocampus-ouest.fr

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Journal of Dairy Research
  • ISSN: 0022-0299
  • EISSN: 1469-7629
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