96 Danish Holstein Friesian calves in 6 repetitions were housed in groups of 4, in pens of either 4, 3, 2.2 or 1.5 msuperscript 2 per calf from 2 weeks of age. The occurrence of play behaviour in the home environment was recorded continuously for each individual calf during 24 h at 5, 7 and 9 weeks of age. Locomotor play decreased over the weeks (54, 29 and 19 s for weeks 5, 7 and 9, respectively), and the interaction between space allowance and week tended to be significant. At 5 weeks of age, calves kept at 4 or 3 msuperscript 2 per calf performed more locomotor play in the home environment than calves at 2.2 or 1.5 msuperscript 2 per calf (68, 74, 38 and 39 s for 4, 3, 2.2 and 1.5 msuperscript 2 per calf, respectively), but in weeks 7 and 9, no effects of space allowance were found. In addition, the duration of locomotor play was recorded for all calves during an individual 10-min open-field test in a 9.6 x 4.8 m arena at 4 and 10 weeks of age. During the open-field test at 10 weeks of age, calves from pens with 1.5 msuperscript 2 per calf performed more locomotor play than calves on the remaining treatments (10, 9, 12 and 25 s for 4, 3, 2.2 and 1.5 msuperscript 2 per calf, respectively). It is concluded that an increase in the available space increases the occurrence of locomotor play in the home environment at 5 weeks of age. Calves kept in pens with the smallest space allowance performed more locomotor play behaviour when released in a large arena at 10 weeks of age.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark.|
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