Next Article in Journal
Curcumin Alleviates IUGR Jejunum Damage by Increasing Antioxidant Capacity through Nrf2/Keap1 Pathway in Growing Pigs
Previous Article in Journal
Assessing the Psychological Priorities for Optimising Captive Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus) Welfare
Open AccessCommunication

Stereotypic Behavior in Fattening Bulls

Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Animal Behavior, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, D-30173 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010040
Received: 5 December 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 22 December 2019 / Published: 24 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Cattle housed under intensive housing conditions may display stereotypic behavior like manipulating objects or body parts of conspecifics with their tongue or rolling and unrolling their tongue repeatedly (so-called tongue playing). These stereotypies may indicate restricted welfare. To our knowledge, there are no studies on the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening cattle. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the prevalence of stereotypies in 243 fattening bulls housed under different conditions in straw-bedded pens in groups of 14, 16, 22, and 33 animals. The animals in one housing system were fed six times per day, the other animals twice per day. The animals’ behavior was observed at three different stages during the fattening period. Two hundred and thirty-four of 243 bulls were observed performing stereotypies at least once. In the different housing systems, an average of 0.2 to 0.9 stereotypies occurred per animal and hour. The most common stereotypy was manipulating objects, followed by tongue playing and manipulating conspecifics. These results show that stereotypies are a common problem in fattening cattle, occurring frequently under different housing conditions. As this may indicate restrictions in welfare, further studies on stereotypies in fattening cattle are needed in order to detect the reasons for their occurrence.
The occurrence of stereotypies in captive animals may indicate restrictions in animal welfare. In cattle, common stereotypies are tongue playing, manipulation of objects, or conspecifics. However, to our knowledge, the occurrence of stereotypies in fattening cattle was only analyzed in studies several decades old. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the prevalence of stereotypies in fattening bulls housed in different systems. On three German fattening farms, a total of 243 fattening bulls housed in groups of 14, 16, 22, and 33 animals in straw-bedded pens were observed. Behavioral observations were performed via video recordings during three observation periods distributed over the whole fattening period, using a scan sampling technique. In 234 of 243 bulls, stereotypies were observed at least once. During 15.9 ± 2.4% of the scan intervals, stereotypies were observed in at least one animal per pen. Average numbers of stereotypies per animal and hour ranged from 0.2 to 0.9. The most common stereotypy was manipulating objects, followed by tongue playing and manipulating conspecifics. These results indicate that stereotypies are highly prevalent in fattening bulls under current housing conditions. They underline the need for further studies to analyze the causation of stereotypies in order to reduce their frequency. View Full-Text
Keywords: oral stereotypies; fattening cattle; abnormal behavior; tongue playing; oral manipulation oral stereotypies; fattening cattle; abnormal behavior; tongue playing; oral manipulation
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Schneider, L.; Kemper, N.; Spindler, B. Stereotypic Behavior in Fattening Bulls. Animals 2020, 10, 40.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop