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Lying Space Requirements for Group Housed Calves

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Sixth International Dairy Housing Conference Proceeding, 16-18 June 2007, (Minneapolis, Minnesota) (Electronic Only)  701P0507e.(doi:10.13031/2013.22788)
Authors:   Gry Færevik, Inger Lise Andersen, Knut Egil Boe
Keywords:   Resting behaviour, Lying area, Space allowance, calf

The aim of the study was to investigate how the size of the lying area influences resting and social behaviour of calves. The experiment was first conducted when the calves were approximately 100 kg (Experiment 1), and thereafter when the calves were approximately 150 kg (Experiment 2). In experiment 1, the size of the lying areas was 0.75 m2 per calf (small), 1.25 m2 per calf, (medium) or 1.75 m2 per calf (large). In experiment 2, the size of the lying areas was 1.00 m2 per calf (small), 1.50 m2 per calf (medium) or 2.00 m2 per calf (large). Resting behaviour was recorded for 24 h at the end of each experimental period by instantaneous sampling at 10 minute intervals, while all incidents of social interactions and play behaviour were continuously scored for five hours. Both 100 kg calves and 150 kg calves showed less synchronous lying (100 kg: P < 0.05 / 150 kg: P < 0.01), decreased lying time on the side (100 kg: P < 0.01 / 150 kg: P < 0.05), and increased lying time close to another calf on the smallest lying area. The results indicate the smallest lying area provided in this experiment (0.75 m2 / 1.00 m2 per calf) was inadequate to satisfy the calfs lying space requirement, and a larger lying area may improve the calfs welfare.

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