Grouping and social preferences in calves, heifers and cows

In order to improve animal welfare, a growing number of calves, heifers and dairy cows are reared in loose housing systems. However, (re)grouping unfamiliar animals may result in aggressive interactions and distress, especially for low ranked animals. Grouping of unfamiliar animals is found to increase aggression, social stress, locomotion behaviour and to have negative effects […]

Effects of repeated regrouping on horse behaviour and injuries

Domestic horses are faced with social challenges throughout their lives due to limitations in social contact, space restrictions and frequent changes in social companionship. This is in contrast to natural conditions where horses live in relatively stable harem bands. Currently, little is known about how repeated regrouping affect horse behaviour and welfare, and it is […]

Evaluation of Welfare Indicators for the Social Environment in Cattle Herds

The social environment is very important for the welfare of animals in loose housing dairy production systems. This article reviews recent literature on the effect of animal density (AD) and regrouping (RG) on the welfare of cattle and describes the development of feasible indicators for the social environment. Special emphasis is given to the methodological […]

Does housing nulliparous dairy cows with multiparous animals prior to calving influence welfare- and production-related parameters after calving?

The aim of this experiment was to determine the effects of housing nulliparous cows with non-lactating multiparous cows during the pre-calving period, on welfare and production-related parameters during the post calving period. Twenty nulliparous Holstein Friesian dairy cattle were assigned to one of two treatments (‘Mixed and Unmixed’) pre-calving. The ‘Mixed’ treatment involved housing experimental […]