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Strategies for Keeping Cows and Calves Together on 104 European Dairy Farms – a Cross-Sectional Survey Study

Eriksson, Hanna; Fall, Nils; Ivemeyer, Silvia; Knierim, Ute; Simantke, Christel; Fuerst-Waltl, Birgit; Winckler, Christoph; Weissensteiner, Roswitha; Pomiès, Dominique; Martin, Bruno; Priolo, Alessandro; Caccamo, Margherita; Sakowski, Tomasz; Spengler Neff, Anet; Bieber, Anna; Schneider, Claudia and Alvåsen, Karin (2021) Strategies for Keeping Cows and Calves Together on 104 European Dairy Farms – a Cross-Sectional Survey Study. Animals, XX, pp. 1-40. [Submitted]

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Summary

Currently, dairy calves are most commonly separated from their dam within 24 hours after 28 birth. The interest for prolonged contact between dairy calves and lactating cows during early 29 life is increasing, but little is known about how farmers implement cow-calf contact. The aim 30 of this study was to identify which practices are currently used on European farms with cow-31 calf contact (CCC), and which management challenges these farmers face. We found that 32 cow-calf contact was practiced on a wide variety of farms, from small farms with outdoor 33 housing to large farms with technology intensive systems. The calves were reared together 34 with their dam, with foster cows, or using a combination of the two. It was also common to 35 manually milk feed the calves during parts of the milk period. How much time cows and 36 calves are kept together varied between farms, from 30 minutes per day to permanent contact 37 except at milking. Building constraints were often mentioned as a barrier for implementing 38 CCC. Many farmers reported stress-related behaviours when cows and calves were separated, 39 and some alleviating strategies, e.g. different types of gradual separation and weaning, were 40 identified. More research how to optimise weaning and separation practices, and to improve 41 indoor housing on cow-calf contact farms would be beneficial for this growing sector.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:calf mortality, calf rearing, cow-calf contact, dairy cattle, farmer attitudes, health, 69 management, suckling, survey, Abacus, FiBL50090
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
dairy cattle
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_2108
English
lactation
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_4140
English
animal welfare
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_443
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > ProYoungStock
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal welfare & housing > Animal husbandry
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal welfare & housing > Animal welfare
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Cattle
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Department of Clinical Sciences
H2020 or FP7 Grant Agreement Number:727495
Deposited By: Alvåsen, Dr Karin
ID Code:42910
Deposited On:06 Dec 2021 07:12
Last Modified:13 Jan 2022 10:17
Document Language:English
Status:Submitted
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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