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Grooming Device Effects on Behaviour and Welfare of Japanese Black Fattening Cattle

Faculty of Applied Biological Sciences, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu 501-1193, Japan
Donated Fund Laboratory of Animal Welfare (Ishii), Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, 232-3, Yomogita, Naruko-Onsen, Ohsaki, Miyagi 989-6711, Japan
Animals 2019, 9(4), 186;
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
PDF [373 KB, uploaded 23 April 2019]

Simple Summary

Fattening cattle housed at a private farm in Japan were provided with a grooming device (a brush) during the late fattening stage. Behavioural observation revealed that the environmental enrichment stimulated the animals’ self-grooming and enabled them to scratch more body parts. Viscera disease was not detected in the enrichment animals when they were slaughtered. Environmental enrichment for fattening cattle can be used to satisfy their motivation to perform self-grooming and to improve their welfare.


In livestock farming, a stark or barren environment compromises animal welfare. Environmental enrichment has been used to address the issue. For this study, after fattening cattle were provided with a grooming device (a brush), its effect on animal self-grooming and welfare were investigated. For Research trial 1 and 2, respectively, 28 and 11 Japanese Black steers were observed. Three or four of the animals were group-housed in a pen. For Trial 1, half of the animals were provided with a brush. The animals’ behaviour, carcass weight, and Viscera disease were recorded. Enrichment animals (E) performed self-grooming and scratching of the animals’ body on the brush and pen structures more than control animals (C) did (mean time budgets, 3.34% (SD = 2.48) in E and 0.89% (SD = 0.81) in C, GLMM, z value = 8.28, p < 0.001). The number of animals in which viscera disease was detected after slaughter was lower in E than in C (E = 0, C = 4, a Fisher’s exact probability test, p = 0.03). In Trial 2, brush use behaviour was observed continuously for 72 h. The observation revealed that the animals scratched various body parts on the brush. Results show that providing a brush as environmental enrichment improves welfare by satisfying the motivation of fattening cattle to perform self-grooming. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; environmental enrichment; grooming device; fattening cattle animal welfare; environmental enrichment; grooming device; fattening cattle

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Ninomiya, S. Grooming Device Effects on Behaviour and Welfare of Japanese Black Fattening Cattle. Animals 2019, 9, 186.

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