Original scientific paper

Analysis of the behaviour of dairy-type Simmental-Fleckvieh calves in outdoor pen-and-shelter systems

2023, 24 (3)   p. 588-600

Daniel Falta, Tomáš Kopec, Milan Večeřa, Gustav Chládek, Radek Filipčík, Francois Lategan


Calf behaviour in rearing systems is an important indicator of calf welfare and influences efficient dairy production. In this study, the behavioural patterns of dairy calves in outdoor individual pen-and-shelter units were investigated. The study was done over 12 months with 683 Simmental-Fleckvieh calves, kept for two months (pre-weaning) in outdoor individual pen-and-shelter units, and observed at monthly intervals. During the study the calves' lying and moving behaviour in the shelters were separately observed and evaluated. The ambient temperature outdoors was also recorded. Statistically significant relationships between the calf’s season of birth, as well as the age of the calf and the evaluated forms of behaviour, were found. Outdoor ambient temperature was found to have a statistically significant effect on calf preference for standing or lying down. More standing calves than lying calves were recorded outdoors at higher outdoor ambient temperatures. Calves showed a clear preference for lying down, especially in the sheltered parts of the units (64.86%). Only 4.98% of the calves lay outside; 19.18% were standing outside, while 10.98% preferred standing inside the shelter. The calves lying down outside were significantly younger while older calves were lying inside the shelter.


dairy, Fleckvieh, standing, lying, temperature

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