Stress, behaviour and reproductive performance in female cattle and pigs

Female farm animals are exposed to a great variety of environmental and management related stressors. As a consequence, their reproductive and maternal abilities may be compromised through mechanisms acting on the hypothalamic, pituitary, ovarian and uterine function. Responses to short- and long-term stressors may differ as short-term stressors often fail to affect reproduction or even […]

Eye white may indicate emotional state on a frustration-contentedness axis in dairy cows

Research on welfare indicators has focused primarily on indicators of poor welfare, but there is also a need for indicators that can cover the range from good to poor welfare. The aim of this experiment was to compare behaviour elements in dairy cows shown in response to a frustrating situation as well as elements shown […]

Pine Needle Abortion in Cattle

Since the early 1900s livestock producers have had problems with pine needle abortion (PNA). Cattle often eat pine needles, and pregnant cattle that are allowed to eat pine needles will abort, resulting in dead or premature calves, retained placentas, and uterine infections. The problem is found throughout the western United States and Canada. Many PNAs […]

Assessing the welfare challenges to out-wintered pregnant suckler cows

Out-wintering beef cows reduces annual housing costs and bedding requirements and there is less exposure to diseases associated with housing. However, to counter these benefits cows may be exposed to conditions that pose a significant challenge to welfare, and ways of assessing this are required. Two feeding treatments were applied to four groups of 10 […]

Nasal temperatures in dairy cows are influenced by positive emotional state

Understanding how animals express positive emotions is an important area of focus for animal welfare science, yet it is widely neglected. Emotions can be either positive or negative in valence, depending on the rewarding or punishing nature of the stimulus, and they can vary in the degree of arousal or excitement. Previous literature has shown […]

Can ear postures reliably measure the positive emotional state of cows?

Animal welfare science is increasingly concerned with the promotion of positive emotions in animals, yet little is known about how to measure them. We examined whether ear postures in dairy cows were reliable indicators of a low arousal, positive emotional state. We conducted a total of 381, 15 min focal observations, across a group of […]

Trailer temperature and humidity during winter transport of cattle in Canada and evaluation of indicators used to assess the welfare of cull beef cows before and after transport

The current study evaluated 17 loads of cull beef cows transported in Canadian winter conditions to assess in-transit temperature and humidity, evaluation of events during loading and unloading, and animal condition and bruising. Regardless of the use of boards to block ventilation holes in trailers, temperatures were higher within trailers than at ambient locations during […]

The effect of conspecific removal on behavioral and physiological responses of dairy cattle

Adverse social and welfare implications of mixing dairy cows or separating calves from their mothers have been documented previously. Here we investigated the behavioral and physiological responses of individuals remaining after conspecifics were removed. We conducted a series of 4 experiments incorporating a range of types of different dairy cattle groupings [experiment 1 (E1), 126 […]

Does animal welfare influence dairy farm efficiency? A two-stage approach

This article investigated how process-based animal welfare indicators (PAT) affected the technical efficiency of German dairy farms. A sample of 115 North-Rhine Westphalian dairy farms was used to estimate their technical efficiency with data envelopment analysis. A censored regression model was then applied to quantify the effects of PAT on technical efficiency. The results indicated […]

Sound analysis in dairy cattle vocalisation as a potential welfare monitor

In modem farming there is a growing demand for innovative tools gathering and analysing information concerning the herd, as well as individual animals. In Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), technology continuously measures various variables as activity, food intake or oestrus activity, thereby supporting farmers in monitoring his livestock. Sound analysis has shown to be useful as […]