The effect of paired calf housing on performance and welfare
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a paired housing system on the daily activity of dairy calves, their performance and welfare. We analysed the 24-hour cycles of the basic daily activities of 20 calves housed in two different housing systems (individually and in pair) on one farm during the milk nutrition period. Daily behavioural activities of calves were evaluated by nonparametric test (Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA), quantitative parameters (live weight, average daily gain) using the F-test and the paired t-test in the Statistica 9 software package. Based on the results of selected behaviour indicators, it stands to reason that calves housed in pair were more active (by 3.6 %) compared to individually housed, which in contrast spent more time lying down (by 2.3 %). Calves housed in pair spent much more time in starter feed intake (by 1.0 %). Regarding the occurrence of negative signs of behaviours, calves housed in pair were found to have higher sucking rates of other calf (by 1.1 %), while in individually housed calves were the higher frequency of licking of surfaces of the hutches, runs and buckets (by 1.6 %). There was no statistically significant difference in body weight, average daily gain between the two various housing systems. In conclusion, it is possible to state that the pair housed calves reached a higher level of welfare due to the possibility of a wider range of natural behaviours.
Novák Pavel, Doc. MVDr., CSc.
Jiroutová Pavlína, Ing.
Knížek Josef, Ing.
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