Although veal production is highly standardized, there still remains variability in productivity between farms, which might be due to the farmers' behaviour towards their animals, which in turn depends on their attitude towards animals. 50 affiliated with the same veal company were studied. The farmers' behaviour with the calves was observed during a morning meal. The farmers were then asked to fill in questionnaires designed to measure their attitude towards calves, and to obtain information about their background (e.g. age, gender, level of education). The productivity results (daily weight gain, feed conversion, and mortality rates) were obtained from the veal company. The frequency of gentle contacts was positively correlated with the description the farmers made of their behaviour with the calves and their beliefs about the sensitivity of calves. Female farmers showed a more positive behaviour towards the calves, had more positive beliefs about the importance of contacts with calves, and made a more positive description of their own behaviour. Positive behaviour was associated with better productivity. Furthermore, bigger units had lower mortality rates. It is concluded that for veal farmers, a positive attitude towards calves, a positive behaviour towards them, and good production results are linked.
|Publication Title||Annales de Zootechnie|
|Author Address||INRA, Centre de Recherches de Clermont-Ferrand-Theix, Unite de Recherches sur les Herbivores, 63122 Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France.|
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