Suckling reinitiated milk secretion in beef cows after an early postpartum hiatus of milking or suckling. Academic Article uri icon


  • We determined whether milk secretion in beef cows could be reinitiated by renewed suckling after a hiatus from milking or suckling. Fifty-three Angus x Hereford cows were suckled ad libitum by their own calves for 13 to 18 d postpartum and then assigned to treatments for 4 wk in which cows were 1) neither milked nor suckled (weaned; n = 18), 2) milked 2 x daily (milked; n = 18), or 3) suckled by their own calves (suckled; n = 17). Thereafter, all calves (including earlier weaned calves) suckled their own dams until permanent weaning at 203 d of age, except when their dams were milked once after receiving (i.m.) 40 IU of oxytocin at reinitiation of suckling (0 wk) and again 1 and 5 wk later. Prolactin was increased in milked and suckled cows during 20 min after milking or suckling at the termination of treatments (0 wk). Concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I were greater for weaned than suckled cows; milked cows had intermediate concentrations. At 0 wk, milk yield was greater for suckled than milked or weaned treatment cows. After 1 wk of renewed suckling, milk secretion of weaned treatment cows increased, and by 5 wk, composition of milk was normal, but yield was still reduced. We concluded that milk secretion was renewed by suckling in early postpartum cows after they were neither suckled nor milked for 4 wk.

published proceedings

  • J Dairy Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Lamb, G. C., Miller, B. L., Lynch, J. M., Grieger, D. M., Stevenson, J. S., & Lucy, M. C.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Lamb, GC||Miller, BL||Lynch, JM||Grieger, DM||Stevenson, JS||Lucy, MC

publication date

  • July 1999