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Olarsbo, Anneli (2005) Utnyttjandet av ligghallar hos dikor och kvigor av köttras under vintern. Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

Cattle used for meat production can be held outside all year round and due to the legislation they should have access to shelters or other buildings for protection against the elements giving them a dry and clean bedding. There are different opinions concerning their need of protection and the question about necessity of shelters for cattle is of current interest due to a less profitable economy in meat production and the investment costs for shelters. The aim of this study was to acquire more knowledge about the natural behaviour of cattle concerning their use of shelters. The basis of the study was a series of questions regarding when animals choose to stay in shelters, if shelters were used less when they had access to protecting vegetation, how temperature and weather conditions affected the use of shelters and the influence of distance between shelter and feed. Behavioural studies was conducted at five different farms where six groups of suckler cows and heifers of following breeds and crossbreeds were observed; Aberdeen Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Scottish Highland Cattle, Simmental and the Swedish breeds SKB and SRB. The group sizes varied between 14 and 58. The farms were situated in different parts of Sweden. The studies took place during two days on two separate occasions per group reaching from February to April 2005. Observations lasted for 4,5 hours/day divided into six periods at dawn, sunrise, lunchtime, afternoon, sunset and twilight. In intervals of five minutes registration of the number of animals in different areas and of their behaviour regarding standing, walking, lying down and eating took place. Temperature and weather conditions were also recorded. The average of time spent in shelters by all suckler cows and heifers was 11,7 % and they spent 6 % of the time within10 m of their shelters. The variation between groups was considerable. Group three and five had longer between their shelter and feeding place and spent less time in their shelter compared with groups with shorter distances. Groups that were observed in their shelter more frequently during the day had a good overlook of the feeding place from the shelter. Group four did not have a clear view, but used their shelter to a proportionately high extent and showed a synchronized behaviour in their use of the shelter. They only used it during early and late observation periods. Registrations of animals lying directly on the ground occurred only a few times and mostly they were lying at the feeding place, areas with straw, in the shelter or within 10 m of shelter. The mean value of all the groups using shelters during the first time of observation was 9,1 % (± 0,55). The temperature was mostly below zero (ºC) and the weather was windy and included snowfall during some of the observation periods during this time. The mean value of all the groups using shelters during the second time of observation was 14,2 % (± 0,90). During this time the temperature often was above zero and the weather was windy with snowfall and quite a lot of rain. In conclusion this study showed that suckler cows and heifers used shelters less during daytime. They seemed to use them more depending on moist conditions like snow and rainfall than to low temperatures and they also seemed to prefer lying on straw than directly on the ground. They used shelters although they had access to protective vegetation and the distance between feeding place and shelter seemed to have an effect on the use of shelters. A clear view between shelters and feeding places seemed to increase time spent in shelters. The construction of the shelter and social structure may influence the availability of the shelter to the individual animal. No tendencies were shown concerning differences between breeds in the use of shelters.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: ligghallar, nöt, nötkreatur, dikor, kvigor, kor, köttras
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Dept. of Animal Enviroment and Health
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Depositing User: Gunilla Jacobsson
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:38
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/908

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