Technical note: Preorbital gland opening in red deer (Cervus elaphus) calves as an indicator of stress
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The hypothesis was tested that the preorbital gland is closed in a relaxed calf and opened in a stressed calf. Preorbital opening was observed in newborn red deer farm calves during a regular daily routine consisting of a search for newborn calves, theirinspection, weighing, and painful marking with an ear tag. All calves observed opened their preorbital gland during their manipulation, at least by the time the ear was punctured by the ear tag. The proportion of individuals with an open gland was lower(P < 0.001) before than during manipulation (7.3 % vs. 100 %, respectively). Hence, openness of the preorbital gland in newborn red deer calves was associated with a stressful manipulation by the humans, which suggests that it may be a simple and easilyrecognized indicator of calf stress.
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