The effect of housing system on behaviour of dairy calves
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of housing system on dairy calf behaviour, their performance and health on the basis of long-term monitoring over one year period. Calf-bulls were housed in two different housing systems (individually and in groups) on one farm during the milk nutrition period. We analysed the 24-hour cycles of the basic behavioural activities of 40 calves (lying and resting, standing, feeding, drinking, body and surface sucking and licking etc.). The observed qualitative parameters (behaviour) were evaluated by nonparametric tests, quantitative parameters (live weight, average daily gain) using ANOVA for repeated measurements in the Statistica 7 software package. Based on the results of selected signs of behaviour, it stands to reason that calf-bulls in the outdoor group hutches were more active by 6.4% compared to the calf-bulls housed in the outdoor individual hutches, who spent more time lying down (by 4.0%). The calf-bulls housed individually spent longer time on feeding and drinking. Regarding to the occurrence of negative signs of behaviour, had the group housed calf-bulls higher sucking rates of other individuals in the group (by 0.3% of daily time), whereas in the individually housed calf-bulls was higher frequency of surfaces licking of hutches, runs and buckets (by 0.7% daily time). Calf-bulls reared from the 28th day of age in the group hutches achieved a higher (P=0.051) average daily weight gain during the whole rearing time by +0.083 kg compared to bulls reared in the individual hutches.
Novák Pavel, Doc. MVDr., CSc.
Jiroutová Pavlína, Ing.
Knížek Josef, Ing.
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