How Dairy Cows Eat May Affect the Quality of What We Eat
The nutritional quality of the food we eat is often a significant factor in our food choices. But concerns about the health and welfare of the animals we eat also influence our choices as consumers.
As Canada Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Behaviour and Welfare, Dr. Trevor DeVries hopes to alleviate some of these concerns by finding ways to improve cow health and welfare.
DeVries and his research team are studying the eating behaviours of dairy cattle. Specifically, they are focusing on the meal patterning of dairy cows, including how and when dairy cows eat. They are also investigating the dietary selection behaviour of cows, focusing on how dairy cows may change their feed preferences in response to metabolic state. This is being done in the hopes of gaining insights into how feeding patterns of cows adapt and change in response to their social environment and how they are fed.
They are establishing links between dairy cows’ feeding behaviour patterns, digestive efficiency, and risk of developing metabolic diseases. DeVries and his team will also establish how dairy cow health affects the nutritional quality of the milk that they produce.
Ultimately, this research will not only contribute to healthier cows and dairy products, but will also help satisfy consumers’ interest in buying foods obtained from animals raised in a humane manner.