The effect of housing system on the daily activity of dairy calves
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the housing system on the daily activity of dairy calves, their performance and health on the basis of long-term monitoring over one year period. We analysed the 24-hour cycles of the basic daily activities of 40 calves – bulls 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, 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 outdoor group hutches were more active by 6.4% compared to calf-bulls housed in outdoor individual hutches, who spent more time lying down (by 4.0%). Calf-bulls housed individually spent longer time of intake of starter and drinking. Regarding the occurrence of negative signs of behaviours, group housed calf-bulls were found to have higher sucking rates of other individuals in the group (by 0.3% of daily time), while in individually housed calf-bulls were the higher frequency of licking of surfaces of the hutches, runs and buckets (by 0.7% daily time). The daily time regime, i.e. the allocation time for different activities, can vary considerably not only depending on the level of the breeding environment, but of course also on the housing system, management and the health status of the calves.
Novák Pavel, Doc. MVDr., CSc.
Knížek Josef, Ing.
Jiroutová Pavlína, Ing.
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