Can disbudding of calves (one versus four weeks of age) induce chronic pain?

Background Calf disbudding is a welfare-relevant invasive husbandry procedure. While it is widely recognized that disbudding elicits acute pain, its chronic consequences are currently unknown. Objectives Primary aim of this study was to investigate whether disbudding leads to chronic pain in calves; secondary aim was to evaluate the influence of age at disbudding (1 week versus […]

Behavioral and physiological assessment of liquid nitrogen cryoablation to prevent horn development in dairy calves

The aim of this series of studies was to evaluate the behavioral and physiological responses (experiment 1), the electroencephalographic response (experiment 2), and the efficacy (experiment 3) of cryoablation to determine if it could provide an alternative to cautery disbudding (DB) for calves. In experiment 1, at approximately 3 d of age, 58 female Friesian dairy […]

Butting by calves,Bos taurus, and rate of milk flow

During nursing, the young of many ungulates butt at their dams’ udder, which has been hypothesized to reflect difficulty obtaining milk. We investigated the effect of manipulating milk flow rate on the butting behaviour of domestic calves sucking milk from an artificial teat. The lowest rate of butting during nutritive sucking occurred with the fastest […]

A note on: On-farm testing of the behavioural response of group-housed calves towards humans; test–retest and inter-observer reliability and effect of familiarity of test person

In this study, a test of the behavioural response of group-housed calves towards humans has been evaluated regarding inter-observer and test–retest reliability as well as effect of familiarity of test person. On seven commercial farms, 186 group-housed calves at the age of 30–183 days were tested when fed concentrate in their manger. A test person […]

Calves’ motivation for access to two different types of social contact measured by operant conditioning

Calves housed individually have little opportunity for social contact. However, performance of social behaviour may constitute a need in calves. Slopes of demand functions (demand elasticity), generated by operant conditioning techniques, are used to measure behavioural motivation of farm animals. A methodological discussion concerns the way social contact should be provided in operant conditioning studies. […]

The effect of duration of manual restraint during blood sampling on plasma cortisol levels in calves

Many studies on stress and pain rely, solely or mainly, on plasma cortisol assessment. Confounding factors, such as handling, may cause a release of cortisol making the interpretation of the results difficult. We looked at the influence of duration of restraint on the plasma cortisol levels of one-to-two month old calves. Forty-three calves were divided […]

The effects of driving events on the stability and resting behaviour of cattle, young calves and pigs

The welfare of animals in transit may be affected by driving events, such as acceleration, braking and cornering. The relationships between driving events and the behavioural responses of the animals were examined. A single-deck, non-articulated vehicle was fitted with a video-recording system, GPS and tri-axial accelerometer. Two drivers each drove three standard journeys (two 3-h […]

Assessing calf play behavior in an arena test

The use of play as an indicator of animal welfare shows promise, and an arena test is one method used to assess how different procedures or housing conditions affect calves’ motivation to perform locomotor play. However, it is unclear if this test reflects play in the home pen. In addition, the specific conditions of this […]

Effects of two substrate types on the behaviour, cleanliness and thermoregulation of dairy calves

The use of river stones as a substrate to rear calves on is a management practice that is becoming more common in parts of New Zealand where more traditional substrate types, such as sawdust, can be difficult and/or expensive to obtain. A study was conducted to compare the behaviour, cleanliness, thermoregulation and weight gain of […]

Does temperament affect learning in calves?

The aim of the study was to investigate how temperament affects learning ability in calves. Nine two-month-old Holstein-Friesian bull calves were subjected to four challenge tests: novel object (NOT), novel environment (NET), social isolation (SIT), and social isolation with a novel environmental cue (SI/E). During these tests, hypothesised temperament variables were recorded. Hypothesised learning variables […]