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Harainen, Erika Eini Eveliina, 2024. Vad är det som luktar? : mjölkkors olfaktoriska förmåga och intresse för nya dofter. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)



Although the current knowledge about cattle olfaction is limited, it is important to understand how this sense works and affects their behaviour. Information about dairy cows’ use of their sense of smell can lead to better understanding about their perceptual abilities. Knowledge about which types of odours dairy cows are able to detect and how they might react to certain odours could play a key role in optimisation of housing systems and husbandry management. If a particular odour can evoke aversion, it is important to avoid those kinds of odours in the barn environment. On the other hand, if some kinds of odours evoke attraction or have a calming effect on dairy cows, using such odours could be beneficial for highly stressed individuals. To summarise, better understanding about dairy cows’ perceptual abilities might improve the current housing and husbandry management in dairy farms. Improved housing and husbandry management could in turn contribute to better animal welfare, and thus improve the current dairy production system. This study was conducted as part of a research project with an overarching aim to improve current knowledge on cattle olfaction and to research how olfaction, cognition and stress affect dairy cows’ welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate if dairy cows can detect and differentiate the following odours: lavender, orange, cedarwood and peppermint, and if any of the odours elicit more interest than others. Another aim of this study was to investigate how dairy cows react to the aforementioned odours and if the presence of any of these odours may elicit specific behaviours. The study used an olfactory Habituation/Dishabituation test to investigate if dairy cows were able to detect and differentiate the odours. Results showed that dairy cows were able to detect all of the tested odours. This finding was significant. However, the results regarding differentiation of the odours were not significant in entirety. The dairy cows were able to differentiate certain odours but not all of them. The results also showed that dairy cows smelled cedarwood the longest and orange the shortest amount of time. These findings were significant. Results indicated that parity had a significant effect on sniffing duration with younger cows sniffing longer than older cows. Behaviours such as licking, biting and pushing occurred the most when dairy cows were presented with orange odour. This finding was however not significant. Licking, biting and pushing was mostly performed by younger parities and this finding was significant. More studies are needed to gain knowledge about how different odours may affect dairy cows’ behaviour and whether odours could be used as a calming agent for highly stressed individuals. This could play a key role in making dairy production more sustainable and increase the welfare of dairy cows.

Main title:Vad är det som luktar?
Subtitle:mjölkkors olfaktoriska förmåga och intresse för nya dofter
Authors:Harainen, Erika Eini Eveliina
Supervisor:Vilain Rörvang, Maria and Stenfelt, Johanna and Högberg, Niclas
Examiner:Anderson, Claes
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK007 Etologi och djurskydd (kandidat) 180,0 hp
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Biosystems and Technology (from 130101)
Keywords:mjölkkors luktsinne, dofter, djurvälfärd, beteende, habituering- /sensitiseringstest
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Deposited On:02 Jul 2024 07:56
Metadata Last Modified:05 Jul 2024 01:17

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