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pigs faceEffects of sensory enrichmenton the overall welfare of dairy calves from birth through weaning


Year: 2021

Dr Juliana Garcia Alvarez
Harper Adams University, United Kingdom

Grant: £3,425


Modern rearing of dairy calves usually involves early separation from the dam and the implementation of artificially rearing practices, including individual housing and restricted milk feeding. Under these conditions, calf welfare can be negatively affected by social isolation, behavioural restrictions, and nutritional challenges. Environmental enrichment has been proven to improve the welfare of many captive animal species including dairy cattle. Most research studies have focused on social and nutritional enrichment but very little is known about the effects of sensory enrichment on the welfare of dairy calves. Appeasing pheromones have been used to reduce stress and anxiety levels in different domesticated species including cats, dogs, horses and pigs. This project aims to investigate potential benefits of the bovine appeasing pheromone (BAP) on dairy-calf welfare at separation and weaning. Calves will receive a synthetic analogue of BAP (or a placebo), and physiological, production and behavioural data will be taken from birth until 4 weeks postweaning.