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Some effects of repeated handling and the use of a mask on stress responses in zebu cattle during restraint

By O. Andrade, A. Orihuela, J. Solano, C. S. Galina

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Abstract

The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of repeated handling and the use of a mask on the order of entry, temperament, cortisol concentration and heart and respiratory rates of Brahman cattle during restraint in a squeeze chute. In the first experiment, 18 cows were restrained in the chute for 10 min on 19 test-days and blood samples were collected during five of the trials. Habituation to handling was reflected by a decrease in cortisol concentration as the study advanced (P < 0.01). In the second experiment, conducted 6 months later, animals were randomly allotted to two groups, alternating the use of a mask over test-days while restraining the cows in the chute for 3 min. Respiratory and heart rates were measured at the beginning and end of each 3 min trial. A blood sample was also taken at the end of each trial. Respiratory rates decreased while the animals were restrained and this decrease tended to be greater (P = 0.09) when the animals were wearing masks (3.06) than when not (2.2 breaths/min). Heart rates also decreased and more so for masked animals (10.6 beats/min) than for non-masked (5.0, P < 0.01). Cortisol values tended to be higher (9.9 versus 4.7 ng/ml, P = 0.08) when animals were restrained without a mask. Temperament scores were lower (P > 0.01) when cows were masked and have a relative high correlation (r = 0.58) with flight distance values, (P < 0.05). Finally, the order of entrance was found consistent over test-days, (P < 0.01). It is concluded that Brahman cattle: (a) habituate to repeat handling in a squeeze chute; (b) are less emotionally reactive when their eyes were covered during this process and (c) establish a repeatable order of entrance to the chute.

Date 2001
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 71
Issue 3
Pages 175-181
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00177-5
Language English
Author Address Centro de Bachillerato Tecnologico agropecuario No. 8 de Xoxocotla, Morelos, Mexico.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Blood
  6. Cattle
  7. Conditioning
  8. Cortisol
  9. Heart rate
  10. Hydrocortisone
  11. Mammals
  12. Masks.
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Respiration
  15. restraint of animals
  16. Ruminants
  17. Stress
  18. Stress response
  19. temperament
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed