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A brief report on effects of transfer from outdoor grazing to indoor tethering and back on urinary cortisol and behaviour in dairy cattle

By Y. Higashiyama, M. Nashiki, H. Narita, M. Kawasaki

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Abstract

The present study was performed to investigate the effects of transferring cattle (n=7) from pasture to indoor confinement and their return to pasture on their physiological and behavioural responses. On the day after the cows were moved to indoor tethering, urinary cortisol increased approximately 3.4-fold in comparison with the levels before. The cortisol levels remained elevated for the first week, then declined, and the basal levels were maintained during the last 3 weeks. The urinary cortisol levels did not change after the cows were returned to pasture. The ratio of lying down while ruminating tended to decrease and remained low after the cattle were transferred from pasture to indoor tethering. This ratio recovered to pre-tethering levels after the cattle were returned to pasture. This study suggests that indoor tethering, in comparison with pasture grazing, is stressful for cattle.

Date 2007
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 102
Issue 1/2
Pages 119-123
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Production and Grassland Farming, National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region, Akahira 4, Shimo-kuriyagawa, Morioka, Iwate 020-0198, Japan. kawakita@affrc.go.jp
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Cattle
  5. Cortisol
  6. Dairy animals
  7. Grazing
  8. Hydrocortisone
  9. Mammals
  10. Pasturing
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. rumination
  13. Stress
  14. Stress response
  15. tethering
  16. urine
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  1. peer-reviewed