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Stereotypies in heifers are affected by feeding regime

By I. Redbo, A. Nordblad

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The effect of giving different types of food which result in long or short feeding durations on stereotypy levels was studied. Forty-eight tethered heifers of the Swedish Red and White Breed, with an average age of 16 months, were subjected to the same treatment. During the first 2 weeks of the experiment (Period 1), they were fed the diet that they were already accustomed to: free access to long straw, silage and concentrate (AL). Over a week of gradual adaptation they were changed to a diet containing only silage and concentrate (R) but with the same energy content as AL. After 3 weeks on the R diet (Period 2), they were returned to the AL diet for the 2 weeks (Period 3). The number of animals that performed stereotypies differed significantly between the three periods; 16 heifers in Period 1, 44 heifers in Period 2, and 25 heifers in Period 3. The frequency of recordings of stereotypies differed significantly between periods, with considerable increases in Period 2. The time budgets for the animals were highly affected by treatment since all behavioural categories showed significant variations over time, with increases in, for example, standing, social behaviours, licking/biting and decreases in eating behaviour, rumination and total lying time in response to restricted feeding. It is concluded that restrictive allowances of roughage with its effects on behavioural time budgets, especially on feeding behaviours, considerably increase the development and frequency of oral stereotypies in cattle.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 53
Issue 3
Pages 193-204
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01145-8
Language English
Author Address Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Kungsangen Research Centre, S-753 23, Uppsala, Sweden.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animal nutrition
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animal roles
  7. Animal welfare
  8. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  9. Cattle
  10. Deviant behavior
  11. Diets
  12. Feeding
  13. Feeding behavior
  14. Food animals
  15. Mammals
  16. restricted feeding
  17. Ruminants