The effect of paired housing on daily activity and welfare of calves
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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. The elements of behaviour 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, 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. The calves housed in pair were more active (by 3.6 %) and spent much more time in starter intake (by 1.0 %) compared to individually housed, which in contrast spent more time lying down (by 2.3 %). 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.
Novák Pavel, Doc. MVDr., CSc.
Jiroutová Pavlína, Ing.
Knížek Josef, Ing.
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