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Effect of rearing method of calves during milk drinking period on their response to an open-field and maze test after weaning.

J. Broucek

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06-23-2020

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Abstract:

T3
Effect of rearing method of calves during milk drinking period on their response to an open-field and maze test after weaning.
J. Broucek*, M. Uhrincat, P. Kisac, A. Hanus. National Agricultural and Food Centre Luzianky, Slovakia.

The objective was to determine the impact of the length of receiving milk from its own mother or nursing cow on the calf's behavior. Holstein calves (n = 99) were assigned to 1 of 3 treatments: suckling of mother (SM; n = 33; 16 heifers and 17 bulls), suckling of a nurse cow (SN; n = 34; 15 heifers and 19 bulls), or housed in hutches (H; n = 32; 15 heifers and 17 bulls). For the SM treatment, calves were in a pen with their mother (milked beginning on d 2) to d 21 of life, allowed to suckle for 10 min 3 � daily (8:00, 13:00, 18:00), and were then group housed and provided 6 kg/d milk by teat bucket (21 d suckling; 63 d manually fed). For the SN treatment, calves were with their mother for 3 d and then placed with a nurse cow (number of calves per cow determined according to milk yield; 6 kg milk daily; 84 d suckling). For the H treatment, calves remained with their dam for 24 h and were then housed in hutches from d 2 to 56 and provided 6 kg/d milk replacer by teat bucket (1 d suckling; 83 d manually fed). From the 2nd day until weaning (84 d) the calves were offered concentrate and alfalfa hay ad libitum. After weaning, all calves were kept separately by sex in age-balanced groups. The speed of traversing the maze was recorded (6 tasks during consecutive 3 d, 8x14 m closed maze facility) at 6 mo of age. Open-field (6 tests during 3 consecutive days, arena 10x10 m, 9 squares) was performed at the 10 mo. The data were analyzed using a General Linear Model ANOVA. The average time of traversing the maze facility for 6 tasks was no significantly differed among treatment groups. At the open-field test, the difference compared with the grid crossings was significant at the 1st minute of the 1st test (SM 9.2 � 4.2; SN 9.1 � 3.5; H 7.1 � 2.9; P < 0.05). The average of the grid crossings in all tests was tended to be highest in SM and the lowest in H. There were no significant differences between sex and sire in behavior in the maze or in the open field tests. The results show that the method used to rear calves may have an impact on their later behavior.

Keywords: calf, rearing, behavior.