International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 263

Full Length Research Paper

Metabolic status and oestrous cycle in dairy cows

K. Danowski1, J. J. Gross3, K. Gellrich1, T. Petri5, H. A. Van Dorland3, R. M. Bruckmaier3, H. D. Reichenbach4, R. Zimmer5, H. H. D. Meyer1, F. J. Schwarz2 and H. Kliem1*
1Physiology Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Weihenstephaner Berg 3, D-85354 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany. 2Animal Nutrition, Technische Universität München, Liesel-Beckmann-Strasse 6, D-85354 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany. 3Veterinary Physiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, CH-3001 Bern, Switzerland. 4Animal Breeding, Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture, Prof.-Dürrwaechter-Platz 1, D-85586 Poing, Germany. 5Department of Informatics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Amalienstr. 17, D-80333 München, Germany.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 September 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013


A study with 40 multiparous high yielding dairy cows was conducted to investigate the influence of an induced negative energy balance (NEB) on reproductive performance. Energy restriction of 49% was performed for 3 weeks beginning on oestrous cycle day 12 of first oestrous cycle after day 85 post partum (pp). From day 20 to day 150 pp animals were monitored for ovary activity three times weekly using rectal palpation and transrectal ultrasound scanning and were inseminated around day 150 pp. Additionally, milk progesterone and milk hydrocortisone were analyzed twice a week. Body condition score and body weight as well as blood glucose, plasma nonesterified fatty acids and plasma β-hydroxybutyrate were recorded weekly. According to oestrous cycle activity before (Period 1 = natural energy deficiency), during (Period 2) and after (Period 3) induced energy restriction animals were assigned to the following groups: Delayed first ovulation until day 45 pp, normal oestrous cycle, prolonged oestrous cycle and shortened oestrous cycle. Sporadic significances, but no clear effect of the metabolic state on reproductive performance could be found during Periods 1 and 2. Service success and conception rate were also not influenced. Our results demonstrate a remarkable adaptation of reproductive activity to metabolic challenges. Animals were able to compensate natural NEB in Period 1 as well as induced NEB (Period 2) for preventing metabolic disorders and maintaining reproductive activity. Therefore dietary energy availability had no effect on reproductive performance at more than 85 days in milk in the present study. To understand reproductive failures in dairy cows focus should be laid on genetic disposition of high yielding individuals that cope successful with metabolic challenges.

Key words: Ovarian cycle, negative energy balance, dairy cows.