24 pairs of monozygotic twin dairy cows (Danish Friesian and Red Danish) were assigned to 4 groups of 12 in a balanced incomplete-block design. Group E: loose housing; ad lib. access to feeding table; deep bedding; a yard and pasture; and milking twice a day. Group N: tie stall; concrete floor plus 1 kg straw; milking twice a day; and no exercise. Group I: tie-stall; rubber mats plus 2 kg straw; milking 4 times a day; and no exercise. Group IE: as group I, except for 1 h daily exercise. The aim of this experiment was to compare allo- and self-grooming, exploration and abnormal behaviour (bar-biting, tongue-rolling, leaning) in an extensive environment and in tie-stalls, and to compare the behaviour in tie-stalls with and without the possibility of daily exercise. The total frequencies of social sniffing and licking were lower in group E compared with the tethered groups. Within the tethered groups, the frequencies of sniffing and licking were significantly lower in group IE. The frequency of self-grooming was lower in group E than in the 3 tethered groups. In cows of all groups, licking of the back and sides of the body constituted 40-45% of all grooming behaviour. When tethered, the cows directed only 30-32% of all licking behaviour against the hindquarters, where this behaviour pattern increased to 56% in the yard (group IE). The frequencies of all types of exploratory behaviours (sniffing and licking the equipment or the ground) were 2-3 times higher in the tie-stall than in loose housing systems. In group IE, sniffing the equipment and the ground was twice as high per h in the yard than in the stable, while the frequency of licking the equipment was >5 times higher in the yard. The frequency of leaning against equipment was higher in the tie-stall than in group E and performed by 57-64% of the cows in the tie-stall. Permanent tethering of dairy cows seems to change the normal activity pattern and increase leaning behaviour. Daily exercise in a yard increased the frequencies of normal social behaviour, self-grooming and investigative behaviour, and decreased bar-biting, and therefore indicates some deprivation in permanently tethered cows.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||National Institute of Animal Science, Department of Research in Cattle and Sheep, Research Centre, Foulum, P.O. Box 39, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.|
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