Challenges for establishing a modern reindeer dairy industry (In Norwegian with Summary in English)
AbstractTo achieve efficient milk ejection has been a recurrent problem in machine milking of reindeer does. The field season 2004 was a breakthrough for an efficient and complete milk let down in reindeer. The proportion of residual milk was reduced as lactation progressed; from around 40-50% at start of the milking in mid June to around 10-15% in late August, suggesting that habituation and training are important factors for triggering the ejection. We performed an experiment including 3 treatments; 1) Calves equipped with a "kjevle" (a wooden stick placed in the mouth of the calves making them unable to suckle but keeping their grazing ability intact) for 8 - 14 hrs dependent of lactation stage, followed by milking of the does, 2) Physically separation of the mothers and their calves for 8 - 14 hrs dependent of lactation stage, followed by milking of the does and 3) Permanent separation of females and calves at start of the milking period and females milked twice per day. The females and calves in group 1 and 2 were rejoined after the "kjevle" and separation period. The females in these two groups were milked every second day. The "kjevle" treatment apparently works better than physical separ¬ation according to welfare parameters and proportion milk ejected in the first part of the milking period. Permanent separation did also work well and permits that the whole production after separation can be utilized. However, in order to keep up the milk production frequent milkings are required during the first days of separation. The growth of the calves was high and did not differ between treatments. This suggests that the calves are able to compensate the reduced milk intake by increasing their intake of forages.
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