Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Group-Housed Dairy Calves

Author
item Morrow, Julie

Submitted to: International Conference on Environmental Enrichment
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The impact of environmental enrichment devices on behavior of dairy calves was studied. Behavior of 6 group-housed calves was continuously recorded. Five enrichment devices were present in the pen: large and small Kong toys, plastic ball, smooth chain link chain, Braden bottle with calf starter feed and a calf lollie. Frequency and duration of enrichment device use changed over time with the most dramatic change occurring with the use of the calf lollie (frequency increased from 0 to 14.2 min/24 hr; P=.00015 over the three time periods). Braden bottle usage was higher in both duration and frequency during the first and second time periods (43.5 and 71.33 min/24 hr and 7.33 vs 10.66 for duration and frequency) than during the third time period (11.2 and 2.6 for frequency and duration; P=.011). The large and small Kongs were used consistently with longer duration seen with the small Kong. Neither the ball nor the chain were utilized much by calves. Cross suckling duration decreased across the 3 periods (P=.0069). Providing environmenal enrichment devices in calf pens was associated with a decrease in the duration of cross suckling. In this study, devices providing a food reward (Braden bottle) or that could provide the calf with a substrate for sucking (Kong toys) were preferred by calves over other devices.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page