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A brief note on the validation of a system for recording lying behaviour in dairy cows

By K. O'Driscoll, L. Boyle, A. Hanlon

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The duration and frequency of lying behaviour and the time spent standing are behavioural indicators of cow comfort. The objective of this study was to validate a robustly designed datalogger (DL) for recording standing and lying behaviour of cows at pasture. The datalogger consists of an internal electric circuit, which records voltage (V) at a set interval. The circuit is inactivated (0 V) when an animal stands and reactivated (2.5 V) when the animal lies. Thirteen DL and 39 cows were used over 3 days. Dataloggers were attached to cows' right hind leg during morning milking. Each DL was programmed to have a logging interval of 5 min. Human observers simultaneously recorded animal posture. Data from DL was adjusted by converting lying bouts of less than 10 min duration to standing behaviour. Results from direct observations were then compared with raw and adjusted data from DL using Cohen's Kappa and Spearman correlations, and an index of concordance for standing, lying and both sets of behaviour was calculated. Kappa and correlation results were higher after adjusting DL data than before (P<0.001), suggesting that adjusting data in this fashion improves agreement between direct observation and DL data. The high correlation coefficients between data collected by human observers and data collected by the dataloggers, in addition to high kappa -values indicate that the dataloggers are an excellent alternative to direct behavioural observations of standing and lying behaviours of dairy cows at pasture.

Date 2008
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 111
Issue 1/2
Pages 195-200
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre, Fermoy, Co.Cork, Irish Republic.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Cattle
  5. Dairy animals
  6. Data collection
  7. Information
  8. Mammals
  9. Methodologies
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. physical activity
  12. recording
  13. rest
  1. peer-reviewed