The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between observed estrous-related behavior, activity clusters (AC; detected by automatic activity monitor), endocrine profiles, and ovulation time. Twenty-one cows in estrus (after 2 cloprostenol treatments, 11 d apart) and 12 nonsynchronized cows, to establish Heatime (SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel) herd baseline activity, were enrolled. Cows had Heatime monitors applied 3 wk before the trial to establish their own baseline activity level. Cows in standing estrus had ultrasonography and phlebotomy carried out every 4 h to determine dominant follicle size, endocrine profiles, and ovulation time. After ovulation, these procedures were repeated once on d 3 to 6. Heatime alerted estrus in 90% of cows, and incorrectly alerted 17% of AC. The mean±SEM duration for standing estrus was 9±1 and 13±1 h for estrous-related behavior. Estrous-related behavior began after the start of the proestrous estradiol-17β (E2) increase (59±6.5 h). Cows with longer durations of raised proestrous E2 had longer intervals from its onset to the start of standing estrus and AC. The AC duration increased with longer durations of estrous-related behavior. Higher peak E2 occurred with longer standing estrus and estrous-related behavior. As E2 concentration decreased after the peak, 90% of cows still had estrous-related behavior. Duration of estrous-related behavior increased with higher average E2 concentration during the last 8 h before the start of the LH surge. During this surge 90% of cows had all of their standing estrus. As yields increased, so did the magnitude of the preovulatory FSH surges. Higher surges occurred with shorter standing estrus and estrous-related behavior. Cows with shorter LH surges had longer standing estrus. Peak LH preceded the AC peak (6.6±0.8 h). Duration of overlap between the AC start and the LH surge end ranged between 0 and 14 h; 1 cow had none. No association was found between the AC characteristics with the E2, LH, or FSH profiles. In conclusion, the relationship between the timing of the E2 increase and estrous activity may be mediated by other factors (GnRH surge). Estrous-related behavior, but not endocrine profiles, was related to AC duration. Timing of standing estrus during the LH surge ensures that mating allows sperm maturation before ovulation. Based on the interval from the start of an AC to ovulation (27±1 h), the optimum time to artificial insemination is, on average, between 9 and 15 h after the AC start.
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