The effect of group housing calves on performance and welfare

MALÁ, Gabriel, NOVÁK, Pavel, JIROUTOVÁ, Pavlína, KNÍŽEK, Josef, NEJEDLÁ, Eliška, PROCHÁZKA, David and KOČÍ, Martina. The effect of group housing calves on performance and welfare. Náš chov, 2020, vol. 80(9), p. 64-66. ISSN 0027-8068.
CathegoryPublication in specialized journals
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the 24-hour cycles of the basic daily activities of 64 calves housed in two different housing systems (individually and in groups) on one farm during the milk nutrition period. The observed qualitative parameters (behaviour, health) were evaluated by nonparametric tests, quantitative parameters (live weight, gain weight, starter consumption) using the F-test and the paired t-test in the TIBCO Statistika software package. Based on the results of selected signs of behaviour, it is obvious that calves housed in groups were more active (by 6.4 %) compared to individually housed, which in contrast spent more time lying down (by 4.0%). Regarding the occurrence of negative signs of behaviours, in individually housed bulls were found higher frequency of licking of surfaces of the hutches, runs and buckets (by 0.7 % of the time per day), while group housed bulls had in addition to licking also sucked other individuals in the group (0.3% of the time per day). Although there was no statistically significant difference in body weight, gain weight, starter consumption or disease incidence between the two various housing systems, it is possible to state that the group housed calves reached a higher level of welfare due to the possibility of a wider range manifestation of natural behaviours.