Main Article Content

Jana Margetínová
Marta Oravcova
Michal Uhrinčať


The objective was to analyse effects of ewe entry order into milking parlour with respect to ewe age and year of measurement on morning milk yield. The measurements (5528) of milk yield mostly in the middle of lactation were taken from 550 ewes of Slovak dairy breed over five years (on average two measurements per ewe and year). Mixed model included fixed factors: milking phase (MP1, MP2 and MP3), ewe age (2, 3 to 10), year (2013, 2014 to 2017) and interaction milking phase x ewe age, and random effect of ewe. Ewes were assigned to milking phases according to their entry order into milking parlour (taking into account batch number and stall number within batch). All fixed factors showed the significant effect on milk yield, except for milking phase: 482 ± 11 ml (MP1), 464 ± 8 ml (MP2) and 444 ± 15 ml (MP3), although ewes with earlier entry order had higher milk yields. Three- to six-year old ewes had higher milk yields than two- and seven- to ten-year old ewes. Significant differences were found predominantly between morning milk yields of three- and four-year old ewes (509 ± 12 ml and 538 ± 10 ml), five- to seven-year old ewes (decreasing from 525 ± 11ml to 471 ± 14 ml) on one side, and milk yields of eight-, nine- and ten-year old ewes (decreasing from 421 ± 17 ml to 311 ± 35 ml) on the other side. According to year of measurement, milk yield increased from 406 ± 12 ml (2013) to 530 ± 10 ml (2015), afterwards decreased and increased again (406 ± 9 ml and 510 ± 26 ml). The significant differences were found only between some years. An interaction milking phase x ewe age showed that milk yields tended to follow patterns found when these factors were analysed individually. Higher milk yields were found in four- and five-year old ewes of MP1 group, lower milk yields were found mostly in nine- and ten-old ewes of MP2 and MP3 groups. Only few levels of this interaction showed significant differences between each other.

Article Details



Dimitrov, I., Stancheva, N., Staikova, G., Peeva, J., Vasilev, V. & Apostolov, A. (2012). Assessment of level of fear susceptibility during machine milking in dairy sheep of different ages and temperament. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 18, 482–486.

Erhard, H. W., Fàbrega, E., Stanworth, G. & Elston, D. A. (2004). Assessing dominance in sheep in a competitive situation: level of motivation and test duration. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 85, 277–292.

Górecki, M. T. & Wójtowski, J. 2004: Stability of milking order in goat over a long period. Archiv für Tierzucht, 47, 203–208.

Gräser-Herrmann, Ch., Sambraus, H. H. (1992). The social behaviour of East Friesian dairy sheep in larger groups. Archiv für Tierzucht, 44, 421–423.

Grasso, F., De Rosa, G., Napolitano, F., Di Francia, A. & Bordi, A. (2007). Entrance order and side preference of dairy cows in the milking parlour. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 6, 187–194.

ICAR Recording Guidelines. (2014). International Agreement of Recording Practises, 2014, 618 p.

Littooij, A. & Butterworth, A. (2018). The influence of previous medical treatments on milking order in dairy cows. Animal, 12, 2018, 612–616.

Keszthelyi, T. & Maros, K. (1992). Moving order in different group sizes of milking ewes. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 35, 181–188.

Mačuhová, L., Tančin, V., Mačuhová, J., Uhrinčať, M., Hasoňová, L. & Margetínová, J. (2017). Effect of ewes entry order into milking parlour on milkability and milk composition. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 62, 392–402.

Margetínová, J., Brouček, J. & Apolen, D. (2001). Order of goats during automatic milking. Journal of Farm Animal Science, 34, 89–96.

Margetínová, J., Fľak, P. & Apolen, D. (2002). Influence of age and breed on the order of entry of ewes into the milking parlour. Journal of Animal Science, 35, 265–271.

Margetínová, J., Brouček, J., Apolen, D. & Mihina, Š. (2003). Relationship between age, milk production and order of goats during automatic milking. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 48, 257–264.

Munksgaard, L., De Passillé, A. M., Rushen, J. Herskin, M. S. & Kristensen, A. M. (2001). Dairy cows' fear of people: social-learning, milk yield and behaviour at milking.Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 73, 15–26.

Paranhos Da Costa, M. J. R. & Broom, D. M. (2001). Consistency of side choice in the milking parlour by Holstein – Friesian cows and its relationship with their reactivity and milk yield. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 70, 177–186.

Polikarpus, A., Grasso, F., Pacelli, C. & Napolitano, F. (2014). Milking behaviour of buffalo cows: entrance order and side preference in the milking parlour. Journal of Dairy Research, 81, 24–29.

Polikarpus, A., Kaart, T., Mootse, H. & De Rosa, G. (2015). Influences of various factors on cows' entrance order into the milking parlour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 166, 20–24.

Rushen, J., Munksgaard, L., Marnet, P. G. & De Passillé, A. M. (2001). Human contact and the effects of acute stress on cows at milking. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 73, 1–14.

Sambraus, H. H. & Keil, N. M. (1997). Die Konstanz der Melkordnung von Ziegen in großen Gruppen. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 114, 397–404.

SAS Institute Inc. (2009). SAS/STAT® 9.2 User's Guide, Second Edition, Cary, NC USA.

Stefanowska, J., Plavsic, M., Ipema, A. H. & Hendriks, M. M. W. B. (2000). The effect of omitted milking on the behaviour of cows in the context of cluster attachment failure during automatic milking. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 67, 277–291.

Syme, G. J., Syme, L. A. & Jefferson, T. P. (1974). A note on variations in the level of aggression within a herd of goats. Animal Science, 18(3), 309–312.

Villagrá, A., Balasch, S., Peris, C., Torres, A. & Fernández, N. (2007). Order of sheep entry into the milking parlour and its relationship with their milkability. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 108, 58–67.

Wasilewski, A. (1999). Demonstration and verification of milking order in dairy sheep and its extent and consistency. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 64, 111–124.