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Animals 2017, 7(11), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani7110084

Calves Use an Automated Brush and a Hanging Rope When Pair-Housed

1
AgResearch Ltd., Ruakura Research Centre, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
2
Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management in the 21st Century)
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Abstract

Calf housing often only meets the basic needs of calves, but there is a growing interest in providing enrichments. This study described the behaviour of calves when they were given the opportunity to interact with two commonly available enrichment items. Female and male calves (approximately 11 days old) were pair-housed in 8 identical pens fitted with an automated brush and a hanging rope. Frequency and duration of behaviours were recorded on 3 separate days (from 12:00 until 08:00 the following day. Calves spent equal time using the brush and rope (27.1 min/day), but there was less variation in the use of the brush as opposed to the rope (coefficient of variation, CV: 23 vs. 78%, respectively). Calves had more frequent (94 bouts, CV: 24%) and shorter (17.8 s/bout, CV: 24%) brush use bouts compared to fewer (38 bouts, CV: 43%) and longer (38.3 s/bout, CV: 53%) rope use bouts. There was a diurnal pattern of use for both items. Frequency of play was similar to rope use, but total time playing was 8% of rope and brush use. Variability among calves suggested that individual preference existed; however, the social dynamics of the pair-housed environment were not measured and therefore could have influenced brush and rope use. Multiple enrichment items should be considered when designing improvements to calf housing. View Full-Text
Keywords: welfare; housing enrichment; grooming; dairy welfare; housing enrichment; grooming; dairy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Zobel, G.; Neave, H.W.; Henderson, H.V.; Webster, J. Calves Use an Automated Brush and a Hanging Rope When Pair-Housed. Animals 2017, 7, 84.

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