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Beef calves react differently to different handlers according to the test situation and their previous interactions with their caretaker

By X. Boivin, J. P. Garel, A. Mante, P. le Neindre

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Abstract

From birth, 24 beef calves received either minimal or extensive contact with 1 experimenter and were observed in 3 tests between 3 and 4 months of age. In the first test, the calves observed with the familiar motionless experimenter spent less time away from a feeding bucket (5.6+or-4.0 s) than when with an unfamiliar experimenter (21.3+or-19.5 s) during the first repetition of test. In the second test, the calves that had received extensive contact with their caretaker during rearing allowed themselves to be touched on the shoulders more quickly (50.4+or-52.4 s) when they were eating in the feeding bucket than those which had received minimal contact (89.6+or-55.5 s). Animals that had minimal contact during rearing allowed the familiar experimenter to touch their heads more quickly (106.7+or-64.1 s) than an unknown experimenter (161.7+or-34.6). The identity of the human did not affect time taken by calves to allow their heads to be touched if they had been reared in extensive contact with a caretaker. No difference was observed between calves when led on to an unfamiliar weighing crate. It is concluded that cattle show different reactions to humans depending on their familiarity with the human, their previous human experience and the properties of the testing conditions for the animal.

Date 1998
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 55
Issue 3/4
Pages 245-257
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address L.A.H.M., I.N.R.A. Theix, F-63122, ST Genes Champanelle, France.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Calves
  5. Cattle
  6. Developed countries
  7. Europe
  8. Feeding
  9. France
  10. Handling
  11. Interactions
  12. Livestock
  13. Mammals
  14. Mediterranean region
  15. OECD countries
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Primates
  18. stockpersons
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  1. peer-reviewed