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Some effects of housing on the social behaviour of dairy cows

  • K. Miller (a1) and D. G. M. Wood-Gush


A herd of high-yielding Friesian dairy cows was observed outdoors and in a modern cubicle house. Indoors there was a much higher level of gross agonistic behaviour than at pasture (9·5 v. 1·1 per h). Furthermore, the use of continuous filming showed a high level of avoidance amongst the cows which impeded the movement of the more submissive cows. All cows spent proportionately 0·34 to 0·56 of their time indoors watching one another and 0·45 to 0·66 of their time in ‘social tension’. There was less synchrony of behaviour indoors than at pasture and despite the presence of one Calan Broadbent stall for each cow there was a high rate of displacement from the stalls involving cows of all degrees of dominance. The results are discussed in relation to housing design and husbandry practice.



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Animal Science
  • ISSN: 1357-7298
  • EISSN: 1748-748X
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