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Wulf, Rebecka, 2013. Välfärd hos växande nötkreatur – finns den?. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

During an investigation of animal welfare in animal production, the focus has for a long time been focused on the absence of stress, suffering and injuries, and positive emotions have not been prioritized. However, in recent years that has been drastically changed. The public interest have increased for buying animal products from animals that have had a decent life, which have led to that play, exploratory behavior and other positive behaviours has come to play a significant role in welfare assessment. The welfare of cattle is difficult to assess since there is currently no ancestors to study, it is thus difficult to determine which behaviors can be regarded as natural and thus positively related, acordingly the welfare of cattle have been forgotten and research on positive emotions of cattle have not been prioritized.

The aim of this study was to observe which behavior growing cattle performe, and if there was any differences of which kind of behavior that was observed, if the cattle is keept on slatted floor or on a deep straw bedding. Furthermore, antoher purpose was to investigate if the observed behaviours indicate a positive, negative or natural welfare, and if it is possible to use the observed behaviours in a welfare assessment. Through an ad libitum-observation all behaviours in one group of bulls standing on slatted floors, and one group of bulls kept on deep straw bedding, where noted for two hours, followed by an explanation of all behaviors.

The behaviors that differed between the two animal housings were, the number of mounting, the number of attempts to lay down and the possibility of foraging and eating straw. There were no attempt, nor completion, of mounting observed on the bulls kept on deep litter. Nor were there any unsuccessful attempts to lay down during the observation of the bulls on deep litter. Bulls on slatted floors had no access to any straw and was therefore unable to carry out any form of foraging behavior.

The research is ambiguous regarding what behaviors for cattle to be classified as natural, it is problematic to determine whether the observed behaviors can serve as welfare indicators. However, the research speaks for itself regarding surface and space. By preference test researchers found out that bulls prefer a larger deep littered space, which has also shown a decrease of abnormal laying down behavior. Moreover, it has emerged that a soft surface prevent ulcers and damage to legs and claws, and the straw acts as occupation and motivates the animals to an exploration behavior. It is unclear whether mounting between bulls is a natural or aggressive behavior, but it is clear that a behavior that occurs often unjustified and leads to increased aggression in the group is a behavior that should be considered as an indicator of negative welfare of production animals.

In order to make an accurate assessment of the welfare of cattle and its environment, it is important with further research on its behavior and how they cope with their environment.

Main title:Välfärd hos växande nötkreatur – finns den?
Authors:Wulf, Rebecka
Supervisor:Loberg, Jenny
Examiner:Algers, Bo
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:461
Year of Publication:2013
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:bulls, slatted floor, straw bedding, welfare, natural behaviour, nötkreatur, välfärd
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2592
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2592
Subjects:Animal ecology
Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Language:Swedish
Deposited On:30 Jul 2013 06:28
Metadata Last Modified:31 Jul 2013 05:34

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