Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: New ways of providing for the physical and psychological well-being of livestock are required in current production systems. Experiment 1 was conducted to determine calf preferences for enrichment devices. Six 2-day old Holstein calves were placed in a wooden pen (4.42 by 2.89 m). Behavior (standing, lying, walking, and social/oral behavior) was video recorded for r3 separate 24 hour time periods (in 4 hour blocks) when calves were 1, 2 and 6 weeks of age. Enrichment devices included a large and small Kong toy, plastic ball, chain, calf lollie, and Braden bottle. In experiment 1, total time spent in oral activity was consistent across week (P=.8216) and most occurred between 1200 and 1600 h (P=.0315). Pattern of daily activity changed across the six week study for several enrichment devices including the duration (P=.0008) and frequency (P=.0037) of use of the small Kong toy. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine if provision of environmental lenrichment could alter immune response and behavior. Calves were placed into pens (3/pen) as in experiment 1. One pen contained enrichment devices, the other did not. Behavior was quantified and blood samples were collected during week 2 and 6 for analysis of immune function. Total T lymphocytes, T helper and T suppressor cells all decreased between week 2 and 6. Frequency of cross sucking was greater (P=.0111) for calves in pens without enrichment devices. There was no difference in total oral activity (P=.2371). This data indicates that calves engage in a consistent amount of oral behavior and provision of enrichment devices may provide an acceptable substrate for this behavior.