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Automated measurement of acceleration can detect effects of age, dehorning and weaning on locomotor play of calves

By Jeffrey Rushen, Anne Marie de Passillé

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Abstract

Play may be a behavioural indicator of positive emotions in young animals, but in calves spontaneous play is time consuming to record. We examined whether measures of acceleration of calves in a large enclosure could detect effects on play running of age, dehorning and weaning off milk. Holstein calves were placed in an arena for 15min and their running, jumping/kicking and walking were recorded from video. Accelerometers were attached to one hind leg and the summed acceleration was recorded. In Exp. 1, 24 calves were placed in the arena the days before and after being dehorned on d4 of age with caustic paste and sedation or as control calves. Prior to and after dehorning, there was a strong positive correlation between the duration of running and the total acceleration (rs>0.77; P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 139
Issue 3
Pages 169-174
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.04.011
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Dairy animals
  3. play