You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Eliminative behaviour of dairy cows at pasture / About

Eliminative behaviour of dairy cows at pasture

By Lindsay Kay Whistance, Liam A. Sinclair, David Richard Arney, Clive Julian Christie Phillips

View Resource (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

Despite a strong avoidance of grazing near dung patches, cattle have traditionally been considered not to avoid bodily contact with faeces, regardless of any risk of disease. Little is understood of the behaviour of pasture-kept dairy cows at the time of defaecation and therefore, the eliminative behaviour of 40 Holstein-Friesian cows was observed at pasture for 6h each day between morning and afternoon milking for a total of 24h. Lying (l), standing (s) and walking (w) behaviours were recorded pre, during and post-elimination. Sequences of 3–6 changes in these behaviours were recorded if expressed within 30s of an eliminative event. Intentional, incidental or no avoidance of faeces was also recorded for each event. Activity, characterised as static (lying, grazing or loafing), or active (moving to a different area of field, going to drink and catching up with herd) was also recorded. Of the 437 events recorded, cows rose from lying to defaecate a total of 215 times. Thirty-two different defaecation sequences were observed and cows stood to defaecate and then moved forward in 18 of these sequences. The most frequently expressed were sSws and wSws and lSw and lSws which included half of all observed events (uppercase letters denote behaviour during defaecation). In all recorded events, 383 stood and 54 walked whilst defaecating (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 130
Issue 3
Pages 73-80
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.12.011
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Cattle
  2. Feces
  3. Grazing