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Bilsland, Patricia, 2023. Human-Animal Interactions in the Early Life of Dairy Calves : effect of brushing on behavior and health. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



This study was conducted to investigate the influence of positive human-animal interactions and tactile stimulation on the behavior and health of young dairy calves. 16 individually housed calves were divided into two groups: One group received tactile stimulation by manual brushing for 30 minutes twice daily for 10 days, and the control group was housed in the same settings but was not brushed. The behavior of all calves was observed four times daily, before and after brushing sessions. Their health was monitored by means of a physical examination and blood count on the first and last days of the experiment and by daily visual inspections. The hypothesis was that brushed calves would be healthier and display more of the natural playful behavior of young calves compared to their control counterparts. We found, however, that brushed calves were less fearful of the experimenters, while control calves displayed more of a play behavior, kicking, during the observation periods. All calves remained healthy during the experiment. There were some indications that, in terms of blood count, brushed calves could mature earlier, as their cell profile was closer to that of older animals. However, more studies are needed to verify if brushed calves become physiologically mature ahead of controls.

Main title:Human-Animal Interactions in the Early Life of Dairy Calves
Subtitle:effect of brushing on behavior and health
Authors:Bilsland, Patricia
Supervisor:de Oliveira, Daiana and Andersson, Maria
Examiner:Wichman, Anette
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VM006 Animal Science - Master's Programme
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:dairy calf, tactile stimulation, brushing, human-animal interaction, anthrozoology, health, individual housing, behavior
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Deposited On:16 Aug 2023 10:14
Metadata Last Modified:17 Aug 2023 01:01

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