Effects of twin pregnancy and dry period feeding strategy on milk production, energy balance, and metabolic profiles in dairy cows

Noelia Silva Del Rio, P. M. Fricke, R. R. Grummer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The present study evaluated the interaction of pregnancy type [PT; single (S) vs. twin (T)] and dry period feeding management [D; close-up (CU) diet (NEl = 1.54 Mcal/kg of DM)] throughout the entire dry period (8W) vs. far-off (FO) diet (NE1 = 1.32 Mcal/kg of DM) from 60 to 21 d before expected calving date (ECD) followed by CU diet until calving (3W). Treatments were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial with a randomized block design with primiparous (n = 8) and multiparous (n = 39) Holstein cows. We hypothesized that increasing the duration of feeding a CU diet would improve metabolic status and lactation performance for cows with T, but not for cows with S. All cows were fed similarly in late lactation (90 to 60 d before ECD; diet NEl = 1.58 Mcal/kg of DM) and in early lactation (calving to 105 DIM; diet NEl = 1.71 Mcal/ kg of DM). Prepartum DMI as percentage of BW did not differ (P > 0.10) with D but tended to be greater (P = 0.10) for cows with S than with T. Cows with T tended to have greater (P = 0.08) BW than cows with S, but conceptus-free BW was less (P = 0.001) for cows with T than for cows with S. No differences (P > 0.10) were detected in prepartum BCS or BCS change with PT or D. Energy balance (EB) was greater for cows with S than with T (P < 0.001) and for cows fed 8W vs. 3W (P = 0.01). Cows with T had greater (P <0.001) NEFA and a tendency for greater liver triglycerides (TG; P = 0.07) and plasma β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA; P = 0.06) than cows with S. Prepartum cows fed 3W had greater (P = 0.01) liver TG and greater (P = 0.02) plasma NEFA, but less (P = 0.02) plasma BHBA than cows fed 8W. Plasma glucose (P < 0.004) and liver glycogen (P = 0.02) were less for cows with T but were not affected (P > 0.10) by D. Postpartum, there was no effect (P > 0.1) of PT or D on mean DMI as percentage of BW, BW, and BCS, but there was an interaction (P = 0.02) of PT × D for mean BCS. Cows that calved T were in a more positive (P = 0.004) EB than cows that calved S. Milk production was 5.2 kg/d greater (P = 0.04) for cows fed 8W; however, they were in less (P = 0.01) EB than cows that received 3W. Postpartum cows that calved T had decreased concentrations of plasma NEFA (P = 0.02) and liver TG (P = 0.04) but greater concentrations of plasma glucose (P = 0.03) than cows that calved S. Plasma BHBA (P = 0.07) and NEFA tended (P = 0.06) to be greater for cows that received 8W than 3W. Neither PT nor D affected (P > 0.1) plasma glucose and liver glycogen. There was a tendency for an interaction of PT × D for plasma NEFA and liver TG. In contrast to our hypothesis, response to D was independent of PT. Based on milk production data from the present experiment, 8W is a more desirable feeding strategy than 3W.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1048-1060
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Close-up diet
  • Dairy cow
  • Metabolic status
  • Twinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine(all)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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