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, 87 (11), 1443-1452

Responsiveness of Beef Cattle (Bos Taurus) to Human Approach, Novelty, Social Isolation, Restraint and Trade-Offs Between Feeding and Social Companionship

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Responsiveness of Beef Cattle (Bos Taurus) to Human Approach, Novelty, Social Isolation, Restraint and Trade-Offs Between Feeding and Social Companionship

Masahiko Hirata et al. Anim Sci J.

Abstract

This study investigated responsiveness of beef cattle to various environmental stimuli by subjecting 15-16 Japanese Black cows to five tests repeated twice. Within individual behavioral measures, cows were moderately (repeatability = 0.54-0.70) or highly (repeatability = 0.74-0.89) consistent in flight distance during grazing and resting in the human approach tests, maximum distance from the group pen and the number of total and different feed tub visits in the feeding-sociability trade-off test, and unwillingness to enter the restraint, movement under restraint and flight speed after release from restraint in the social isolation and restraint test. By contrast, cows were not consistent in the latency to make the first contact and the number of contacts with novel object(s) in the novelty test (repeatability = 0.24-0.39). Across behavioral measures in different tests, cows showed no consistency (P ≥ 0.05) in any combinations of measures from the two human approach tests, the trade-off test and the social isolation and restraint test. In conclusion, human approach (particularly during resting), feeding-sociability trade-off and social isolation and restraint situations can be used for evaluating personality in Japanese Black cows, while the value of the novelty test needs to be reexamined.

Keywords: Japanese Black cow; individual behavioral difference; intra-animal consistency; personality.

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