Rumination and activity behaviours are important welfare indexes in beef-cattle housing. The main objective of the present study was to assess whether the automatic collars are able to reliably assess the rumination and activity patterns of beef heifers. For this purpose, individual rumination time and activity (RT and AT respectively) were continuously recorded using an automatic neck-collar system (Hr-Tag, SCR Engineers Ltd, Israel) on the three trials performed. For Experiment 1, 60 Italian crossbred heifers were randomly assigned to one of two experimental diets for 9 months: the corn–silage diet (CS), which included 50% forage on a dry-matter (DM) basis (43% corn–silage, 7% wheat straw) and the hay diet (HAY), with 57% forage on DM basis (28.5% grass hay, 28.5% alfalfa hay). Heifers consuming HAY diet showed greater (P < 0.05) RT (min/day) and AT (bits/day) than did those on CS diet. Rumination time per kilogram of dry matter and per kilogram of amylase- and sodium sulfite-treated neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash residue (aNDFom) intake were similar in the two experimental groups, while RT per kilogram of physical effective NDF (peNDF) intake was greater (P < 0.05) in the CS group than in the HAY one. Daily rumination and activity patterns (min/2 h and bits/2 h respectively) were significantly different between CS and HAY groups. In the second experiment, 32 beef heifers were randomly allocated in two homogeneous pens, each containing eight animals, and two non-homogeneous ones, in which animals were added at different periods. The AT of non-homogeneous pens was significantly higher than that of the homogeneous ones, suggesting a distress condition for values higher than 309 bits/day AT. In the third experiment, RT and AT of three animals with respiratory disease were collected using the automatic collar system and compared with AT and RT of the healthy animals. Sick animals presented a significantly lower RT and higher AT than did the healthy ones. The cut-off to distinguish sick from healthy heifers was set to 537 bits/day AT and 381 min/day RT. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that automatic collars can reliably monitor different rumination and activity behaviours of beef animals in various management conditions and different health statuses.

Automatically monitoring of dietary effects on rumination and activity of finishing heifers

E. Giaretta;A. Mordenti;G. Canestrari;A. Palmonari;A. Formigoni
2019

Abstract

Rumination and activity behaviours are important welfare indexes in beef-cattle housing. The main objective of the present study was to assess whether the automatic collars are able to reliably assess the rumination and activity patterns of beef heifers. For this purpose, individual rumination time and activity (RT and AT respectively) were continuously recorded using an automatic neck-collar system (Hr-Tag, SCR Engineers Ltd, Israel) on the three trials performed. For Experiment 1, 60 Italian crossbred heifers were randomly assigned to one of two experimental diets for 9 months: the corn–silage diet (CS), which included 50% forage on a dry-matter (DM) basis (43% corn–silage, 7% wheat straw) and the hay diet (HAY), with 57% forage on DM basis (28.5% grass hay, 28.5% alfalfa hay). Heifers consuming HAY diet showed greater (P < 0.05) RT (min/day) and AT (bits/day) than did those on CS diet. Rumination time per kilogram of dry matter and per kilogram of amylase- and sodium sulfite-treated neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash residue (aNDFom) intake were similar in the two experimental groups, while RT per kilogram of physical effective NDF (peNDF) intake was greater (P < 0.05) in the CS group than in the HAY one. Daily rumination and activity patterns (min/2 h and bits/2 h respectively) were significantly different between CS and HAY groups. In the second experiment, 32 beef heifers were randomly allocated in two homogeneous pens, each containing eight animals, and two non-homogeneous ones, in which animals were added at different periods. The AT of non-homogeneous pens was significantly higher than that of the homogeneous ones, suggesting a distress condition for values higher than 309 bits/day AT. In the third experiment, RT and AT of three animals with respiratory disease were collected using the automatic collar system and compared with AT and RT of the healthy animals. Sick animals presented a significantly lower RT and higher AT than did the healthy ones. The cut-off to distinguish sick from healthy heifers was set to 537 bits/day AT and 381 min/day RT. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that automatic collars can reliably monitor different rumination and activity behaviours of beef animals in various management conditions and different health statuses.
E. Giaretta, A. Mordenti, G. Canestrari, A. Palmonari, A. Formigoni
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
preprint_Giarettaetal.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipo: Preprint
Licenza: Licenza per accesso libero gratuito
Dimensione 521.35 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
521.35 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/698506
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 2
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 2
social impact