Group housing of calves is not without risk
The aim of our studies were to evaluate the effect of a paired and group housing system on the daily activity of dairy calves, their performance, health and welfare. We analysed the 24-hour cycles of the basic daily activities of calves housed in a shelter in two different housing systems (individually and in pair), or in individual and group hutches on one farm during the milk nutrition period. The observed qualitative parameters (behaviour, health) were evaluated by nonparametric tests, quantitative parameters (live weight, average daily gain, starter consumption) using the F-test and the paired t-test in the Statistica 9 software package. Based on the results of selected signs of behaviour, it stands to reason that calves housed in pair and group were more active compared to individually housed, which in contrast spent more time lying down. Regarding the occurrence of negative signs of behaviours, calves housed in pair and group were found to have higher sucking rates of other calf, while in individually housed calves were the higher frequency of licking of surfaces of the hutches, runs and buckets. There was no statistically significant difference in body weight, average daily gain, starter consumption or disease incidence between the two various housing systems. While, calves reared from day 28 in outdoor group hutches achieved a higher (p = 0.051) average daily gain and a higher feed conversion (p
Novák Pavel, Doc. MVDr., CSc.
Jiroutová Pavlína, Ing.
Knížek Josef, Ing.
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