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Effects of the observation method (direct v. from video) and of the presence of an observer on behavioural results in veal calves

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2013

H. Leruste
Affiliation:
Groupe ISA Lille, CASE, 48 boulevard Vauban, 59046 Lille, Cedex, France
E. A. M. Bokkers
Affiliation:
Animal Production Systems Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands
O. Sergent
Affiliation:
Groupe ISA Lille, CASE, 48 boulevard Vauban, 59046 Lille, Cedex, France
M. Wolthuis-Fillerup
Affiliation:
Livestock Research, Wageningen University and Research Center, PO Box 65, 8200 AB, Lelystad, The Netherlands
C. G. van Reenen
Affiliation:
Livestock Research, Wageningen University and Research Center, PO Box 65, 8200 AB, Lelystad, The Netherlands
B. J. Lensink
Affiliation:
Groupe ISA Lille, CASE, 48 boulevard Vauban, 59046 Lille, Cedex, France
Corresponding
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Abstract

This study aimed at assessing the effect of the observation method (direct or from video) and the effect of the presence of an observer on the behavioural results in veal calves kept on a commercial farm. To evaluate the effect of the observation method, 20 pens (four to five calves per pen) were observed by an observer for 60 min (two observation sessions of 30 min) and video-recorded at the same time. To evaluate the effect of the presence of the observer in front of the pen, 24 pens were video-recorded on 4 consecutive days and an observer was present in front of each pen for 60 min (two observation sessions of 30 min) on the third day. Behaviour was recorded using instantaneous scan sampling. For the study of the observer's effect, the analysis was limited to the posture, abnormal oral behaviour and manipulation of substrates. The two observation methods gave similar results for the time spent standing, but different results for all other behaviours. The presence of an observer did not affect the behaviour of calves at day level; however, their behaviour was affected when the observer was actually present in front of the pens. A higher percentage of calves were standing and were manipulating substrate in the presence of the observer, but there was no effect on abnormal oral behaviour. In conclusion, direct observations are a more suitable observation method than observations from video recordings for detailed behaviours in veal calves. The presence of an observer has a short-term effect on certain behaviours of calves that will have to be taken into consideration when monitoring these behaviours.

Type
Behaviour, welfare and health
Information
animal , Volume 7 , Issue 11 , November 2013 , pp. 1858 - 1864
Copyright
Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2013 

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