Effect of rearing, season of birth, and father on labyrinth behaviour of dairy heifers
Keywords:cattle, environment, learning, raising, welfare
Objective of this study was to test the hypotheses that heifer's behaviour after 12 months (M) are impacted by rearing (feeding/housing) before weaning, seasons of birth, and father lineage. Fifty-one Holstein heifers (born in year seasons SB1, SB2, SB3, and SB4, originating from 4 fathers) were assigned to one of three rearing treatments: restricted suckling (RS), calf in pen with mother to 21st day, suck three times daily, then group pen (6 kg milk) to weaning; unrestricted suckling (US), calf in pen with foster cows (6 kg milk) to weaning; conventional rearing (CR), calf in the hutch to 56th day, then group pen to weaning (milk replacer 6 kg). After weaning at the 84th day, heifers were kept in groups with the same ration. The labyrinth behaviour was tested in the 12th and 19th M of the age. In the evaluation factors rearing and season of birth, groups US and SB3 solved the passage of the labyrinth the fastest (868.0 s, 857.4 s), the slowest were CR and SB1 (1148.2 s, 1257.5 s). The results show that the manner (housing/feeding) used to rear heifers and season of birth may impact their later labyrinth behaviour.
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