Welfare assessment traits, milk quantity and quality, and profitability of Anatolian buffalo cows confined in closed-tied or semi-open free-stall barns can be affected by supplementary feeding at milking

  • Ibrahim Cihangir Okuyucu (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University) ;
  • Ahmet Akdag (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Eskisehir Osmangazi University) ;
  • Huseyin Erdem (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University) ;
  • Canan Kop-Bozbay (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Eskisehir Osmangazi University) ;
  • Samet Hasan Abaci (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University) ;
  • Ali Vaiz Garipoglu (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University) ;
  • Esin Hazneci (Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University) ;
  • Nuh Ocak (Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ondokuz Mayis University)
  • Received : 2023.09.14
  • Accepted : 2023.12.05
  • Published : 2024.06.01


Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of offering (OSF) or not (NSF) supplemental feed at milking on temperament (TS), udder hygiene (UHS) and body condition (BCS) scores, and milk yield per milking (MYM), milk quality traits, and profitability of primiparous Anatolian buffalo cows at 90 days of lactation confined in closed-tied (CB) or semi-open free-stall (OB) barns. Methods: In Experiment I, 108 cows were selected to encompass four treatments (OBOSF, OB-NSF, CB-OSF, and CB-NSF) of 27 cows, considering barn type (OB and CB) and supplementary feed (OSF and NSF) at milking. In Experiment II, 60 OB cows were selected to encompass one of five groups of 12 cows each: i) no supplemental feed (CON), ii) commercial concentrate (CC), iii) CC + corn silage (CCS), iv) CCS + alfalfa hay (CSA), or v) CC + ryegrass silage (CRS) at milking. Results: The TS and UHS of the OB and OSF cows were lower (better) than those of the CB and NSF cows, respectively. The OSF increased milk protein, lactose, and solids-not-fat but decreased milk freezing point and electrical conductivity compared with the NSF. The MYM and milk fat of the OB-OSF cows were higher than those of the OB-NSF and CBNSF cows. The TS and UHS of the cows negatively correlated with MYM and some milk chemicals (fat, protein, and solids-not-fat), but BCS correlated positively. The TS and milk electrical conductivity of the CCS, CSA, and CRS cows were lower than those of the CON and CC cows, but BCS, MYM, and milk fat were higher. Partial budget analysis identified a higher net profit for supplemental feed-offered groups (OB-OSF, CCS, CSA, and CRS). Conclusion: Offering roughage with concentrates at milking for indoor primiparous buffalo cows is more conducive to well-being, milk yield, milk quality, and economy.



The authors thank the Republic of Turkiye Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies and the Samsun Provincial Buffalo Breeders Association for supporting and contributing to this research.


  1. Mora-Medina P, Berdugo-Gutierrez JA, Mota-Rojas D, Ruiz-Buitrago JD, Nava-Adame J, Guerrero-Legarreta I. Behaviour and welfare of dairy buffaloes: pasture or confinement? J Buffalo Sci 2018;7:43-8.
  2. Costa A, Negrini R, De Marchi M, Campanile G, Neglia G. Phenotypic characterization of milk yield and quality traits in a large population of water buffaloes. Animals 2020;10:327.
  3. Erdem H, Okuyucu IC, Abaci SH. Milking temperament of Anatolian buffaloes during early lactation. Appl Anim Behav Sci 2022;253:105679.
  4. de la Cruz-Cruz LA, Guerrero-Legarreta I, Ramirez-Necoechea R, et al. The behaviour and productivity of water buffalo in different breeding systems: a review. Vet Med 2014;59:181-93.
  5. Napolitano F, Serrapica F, Braghieri A, Masucci F, Sabia E, De Rosa G. Human-animal interactions in dairy buffalo farms. Animals 2019;9:246.
  6. Bertoni A, Alvarez-Macias A, Mota-Rojas D, Davalos JL, Minervino AHH. Dual-purpose water buffalo production systems in tropical Latin America: bases for a sustainable model. Animals 2021;11:2910.
  7. Costa A, Neglia G, Campanile G, De Marchi M. Milk somatic cell count and its relationship with milk yield and quality traits in Italian water buffaloes. J Dairy Sci 2020;103:5485-94.
  8. de Lima Carvalhal MV, Sant'Anna AC, Pascoa AG, Jung J, da Costa MJRP. The relationship between water buffalo cow temperament and milk yield and quality traits. Livest Sci 2017;198:109-14.
  9. Saqib MN, Qureshi MS, Suhail SM, et al. Association among metabolic status, oxidative stress, milk yield, body condition score and reproductive cyclicity in dairy buffaloes. Reprod Domest Anim 2022;57:498-504.
  10. Pramanik PS, Gupta PK, Giri SN. Rank correlation among temperament scores, body condition scores, and milking behavioral traits in Murrah buffaloes. J Entomol Zool Stud 2020;8:663-6.
  11. Saludes TA, Takeshita H, Tandang AG, Bril PM, Bautista JAN. The relationship of body condition scores to milk production in dairy buffaloes. Philipp J Vet Med 2021;58:84-95.
  12. Matera R, Di Vuolo G, Cotticelli A, et al. Relationship among milk conductivity, production traits, and somatic cell score in the Italian Mediterranean Buffalo. Animals 2022;12:2225.
  13. Verdes S, Trillo Y, Pena AI, Herradon PG, Becerra JJ, Quintela LA. Relationship between quality of facilities, animal-based welfare indicators and measures of reproductive and productive performances on dairy farms in the northwest of Spain. Ital J Anim Sci 2020;19:319-29.
  14. Shahid MQ, Abdullah M, Bhatti JA, et al. Machine milking performance of Nili-Ravi buffaloes on different pre-milking stimulation practices. J Anim Plant Sci 2012;22:284-7.
  15. Patel HA, Patel JB, Dodia VD, Prajapati VS, Patel SB. Effect of temperament on Mehsana buffalo. Int J Sci Environ Technol 2016;5:2265-8.
  16. Parmar P, Lopez-Villalobos N, Tobin JT, et al. Effect of temperature on raw whole milk density and its potential impact on milk payment in the dairy industry. Int J Food Sci Technol 2021;56:2415-22.
  17. Antanaitis R, Juozaitiene V, Jonike V, et al. Relationship between temperament and stage of lactation, productivity and milk composition of dairy cows. Animals 2021;11:1840.
  18. Shehar R, Roy B, Mishra A, Sheikh AA, Bhagat R. Study of milking temperament in Gir cows. Int J Fauna Biol Stud 2015;2:48-50.
  19. Schreiner DA, Ruegg PL. Relationship between udder and leg hygiene scores and subclinical mastitis. J Dairy Sci 2003; 86:3460-5.
  20. Reneau JK, Seykora AJ, Heins BJ, Endres MI, Farnsworth RJ, Bey RF. Association between hygiene scores and somatic cell scores in dairy cattle. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1297-301.
  21. Anitha A, Rao KS, Suresh J, Moorthy PRS, Reddy YK. A body condition score (BCS) system in Murrah buffaloes. Buffalo Bull 2011;30:79-99.
  22. Spengler Neff A, Notz C, Ivemeyer S, Walkenhorst M. Body condition scoring. Frick, Switzerland: Forschungsinstitut fuer biologischen Landbau (FiBL); 2015. Available from:
  23. Windsor P, Martin S, Khounsy S, Young J, Thomson P, Bush R. Improved milk production from supplementation of swamp buffalo with molasses nutrient blocks containing 10% urea. Dairy 2021;2:90-103.
  24. Kay R, Edwards W, Duffy P. Farm Management. 9th ed. New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Education; 2020.
  25. do Nascimento Rangel AH, de Oliveira JPF, de Medeiros HR, de Araujo VM, Novaes LP, de Lima Junior DM. Influence of Murrah buffalo behavior in milking parlors on production characteristics. Arch Vet Sci 2014;19:53-61.
  26. Vilas Boas DF, Vercesi Filho AE, Pereira MA, Roma Junior LC, El Faro L. Association between electrical conductivity and milk production traits in Dairy Gyr cows. J Appl Anim Res 2017;45:227-33.
  27. Aigueperse N, Vasseur E. Providing an outdoor exercise area affects tie-stall cow reactivity and human-cow relations. Front Vet Sci 2021;7:597607.
  28. Sadoon AS. Clinical and subclinical mastitis in buffaloes in Mosul Area, Iraq. Iraqi J Vet Sci 2022;36:177-86.
  29. Tamboli P, Bharadwaj A, Chaurasiya A, Bangar YC, Jerome A. Association between age at first calving, first lactation traits and lifetime productivity in Murrah buffaloes. Asian- Australas J Anim Sci 2022;35:1151-61.
  30. Televicius M, Juozaitiene V, Malasauskiene D, et al. Inline milk lactose concentration as biomarker of the health status and reproductive success in dairy cows. Agriculture 2021;11:38.
  31. Costa A, Lopez-Villalobos N, Visentin G, De Marchi M, Cassandro M, Penasa M. Heritability and repeatability of milk lactose and its relationships with traditional milk traits, somatic cell score and freezing point in Holstein cows. Animal 2019;13:909-16.
  32. Boselli C, De Marchi M, Costa A, Borghese A. Study of milk ability and its relation with milk yield and somatic cell in Mediterranean Italian water buffalo. Front Vet Sci 2020;7:432.
  33. Bach A, Cabrera V. Robotic milking: feeding strategies and economic returns. J Dairy Sci 2017;100:7720-8.
  34. Tremblay M, Hess JP, Christenson BM, et al. Factors associated with increased milk production for automatic milking systems. J Dairy Sci 2016;99:3824-37.
  35. Thomas CS, Nordstrom J, Svennersten-Sjaunja K, Wiktorsson H. Maintenance and milking behaviours of Murrah buffaloes during two feeding regimes. Appl Anim Behav Sci 2005;91:261-76.
  36. Moore SM, King MTM, Carpenter AJ, DeVries TJ. Behavior, health, and productivity of early-lactation dairy cows supplemented with molasses in automated milking systems. J Dairy Sci 2020;103:10506-18.