Lactation curve and effects of milking regimen on milk yield and quality, and udder health in Martina Franca jennies (Equus asinus)

Journal of Animal Science
A G D'Alessandro, G Martemucci


Three experiments were conducted on Martina Franca jennies. Experiment 1 tested Wood's model for evaluating the lactation curve. Data from the entire lactation period of 12 jennies were used. The results showed that Wood's model was able to recognize the shape of the lactation curve from pooled data (r(2) = 0.11; P < 0.01), with the lactation peak occurring at 48 d. Individual curves showed wide variability. Experiment 2 aimed to evaluate the effects of the daily number of milkings (1, 3, or 6) and the interval between the separation of foals from dams and milking (2 or 3 h) on milk yield and udder health. Four groups of jennies (n = 5) were considered: 1 × 3H, milked once per day (1×) with a 3-h interval from the time of foal removal (3H) from the dams to mechanical milking (3-h interval); 3 × 3H, milked 3 times per day with 3-h intervals; 3 × 2H, milked 3 times per day with 2-h intervals; and 6 × 2H, milked 6 times per day with 2-h intervals. The milk somatic cell count (SCC) was monitored. Better efficiency was observed for 3 vs. 1 milking per day and for 3-h vs. 2-h intervals. The regimen of 6 daily milkings at 2-h intervals did not increase milk yield and was related to an increase in the SCC compared with 3 daily milkings...Continue Reading


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