Effect of different rearing systems on behavioural responses to novel stimuli in Murrah buffalo calves

Main Article Content

Shwetambri Jamwal Pawan Singh Rajneesh Thakur


The study reported aimed to assess the effect of different rearing systems on behavioural responses to novel stimuli in Murrah buffalo calves. Calves in the experiment were grouped in three treatments in accordance with differed maternal interaction: dam-reared through fenceline (FMC; n = 8), restricted maternal contact (RMC; n = 8); no maternal contact (NMC; n = 8). FMC calves had permanent access to their mothers for first 5 days of birth and thereafter were housed in groups with fence line separation from their mothers and suckled twice a day. RMC calves had access to their mother only twice a day during the suckling hours. NMC calves were separated from their mothers within 24 h after birth and fed via bottle with nipple. Behavioral response of each calf toward novel object (a bright coloured ball) was evaluated on exposure during the test for three consecutive days across three months. The findings showed that buffalo calves that were given fence line contact with their mothers performed significantly (P<0.05) the best across all treatment groups in terms of response to a novel stimuli. Whereas the performance of calves with restricted contact with their mothers was superior to calves weaned at birth from their mothers, it was not on par with calves with full time fence line contact with their mothers, calves weaned at birth with no provision of maternal contact performed poorly in terms of behavioural response to novel stimuli.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
JAMWAL, Shwetambri; SINGH, Pawan; THAKUR, Rajneesh. Effect of different rearing systems on behavioural responses to novel stimuli in Murrah buffalo calves. Buffalo Bulletin, [S.l.], v. 41, n. 4, p. 655-667, dec. 2022. ISSN 2539-5696. Available at: <https://kuojs.lib.ku.ac.th/index.php/BufBu/article/view/4861>. Date accessed: 29 jan. 2023. doi: https://doi.org/10.56825/bufbu.2022.4144861.
Original Article


Berlyne, D.E. 1960. Conflict, Arousal, and Curiosity. McGraw Hill, New York, USA.

Brombin, A., A. Pezzuolo and M. Brščić. 2019 Are we ready for the big change in the dairy production system? Res. Vet. Sci., 126: 17-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2019.08.006

Buchli, C., A. Raselli, R. Bruckmaier and E. Hillmann. 2017. Contact with cows during the young age increases social competence and lowers the cardiac stress reaction in dairy calves. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 187: 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2016.12.002

Busch, G., D.M. Weary, A. Spiller and M.A. Von Keyserlingk. 2017. American and German attitudes towards cow-calf separation on dairy farms. PloS One, 12(3): e0174013. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174013

Chen, S., S. Tanaka, S.I. Ogura, S. Roh and S. Sato. 2015. Effect of suckling systems on serum oxytocin and cortisol concentrations and behavior to a novel object in beef calves. Asian Austral. J. Anim., 28(11): 1662-1668. DOI: 10.5713/ajas.15.0330

Costa, J.H.C., R.R. Daros, M.A.G. Von Keyserlingk and D.M. Weary. 2014. Complex social housing reduces food neophobia in dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci., 97(12): 7804-7810. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2014-8392

Cramer, M.C. and A.L. Stanton. 2015. Associations between health status and the probability of approaching a novel object or stationary human in preweaned group-housed dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci., 98(10): 7298-7308. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2015-9534

Daros, R.R., J.H. Costa, M.A. Von Keyserlingk, M.J. Hötzel and D.M. Weary. 2014. Separation from the dam causes negative judgement bias in dairy calves. PLoS One, 9(5): e98429. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098429

Denenberg, V.H., J.T. Brumaghim, G.C. Haltmeyer and M.X. Zarrow. 1967. Increased adrenocortical activity in the neonatal rat following handling. Endocrinology, 81(5): 1047-1052. DOI: 10.1210/endo-81-5-1047

Foris, B., M. Zebunke, J. Langbein and N. Melzer. 2018. Evaluating the temporal and situational consistency of personality traits in adult dairy cattle. PloS One, 13(10): e0204619. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204619

Forkman, B., A. Boissy, M.C. Meunier-Salaün, E. Canali and R.B. Jones. 2007. A critical review of fear tests used on cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry and horses. Physiol. Behav, 92(3): 340-374. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.03.016.

Haba, R., N. Shintani, Y. Onaka, H. Wang, R. Takenaga, A. Hayata, A. Baba and H. Hashimoto. 2012. Lipopolysaccharide affects exploratory behaviors toward novel objects by impairing cognition and/or motivation in mice: Possible role of activation of the central amygdala. Behav. Brain Res., 228(2): 423-431. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.12.027

Hänninen, L., H. Hepola, S. Raussi and H. Saloniemi. 2008. Effect of colostrum feeding method and presence of dam on the sleep, rest and sucking behaviour of newborn calves. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 112(3-4): 213-222. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2007.09.003

Hart, B.L. 1988. Biological basis of the behavior of sick animals. Neurosci. Biobehav. R., 12(2): 123-137. DOI: 10.1016/S0149-7634(88)80004-6

Koolhaas, J.M. and C.G. Van Reenen. 2016. Animal behavior and well-being symposium: Interaction between coping style/personality, stress, and welfare: Relevance for domestic farm animals. J. Anim. Sci., 94(6): 2284-2296. DOI: 10.2527/jas.2015-0125

Lecorps, B., S. Kappel, D.M. Weary and M.A. Von Keyserlingk. 2018. Dairy calves’ personality traits predict social proximity and response to an emotional challenge. Sci. Rep. UK, 8(1): 16350. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-34281-2.

Lensink, J., I. Veissier and A. Boissy. 2006. Enhancement of performances in a learning task in suckler calves after weaning and relocation: Motivational versus cognitive control?: A pilot study. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 100(3-4): 171-181. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2005.11.021

Meagher, R.K., R.R. Daros, J.H. Costa, M.A. Von Keyserlingk, M.J. Hötzel and D.M. Weary. 2015. Effects of degree and timing of social housing on reversal learning and response to novel objects in dairy calves. PloS One, 10(8): e0132828. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132828

Neave, H.W., J.H. Costa, D.M. Weary and M.A. Von Keyserlingk. 2020. Long-term consistency of personality traits of cattle. Roy. Soc. Open Sci., 7(2): 191849. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.191849

Ohl, F. and F.J. Van Der Staay. 2012. Animal welfare: At the interface between science and society. Vet. J., 192(1): 13-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2011.05.019

Pérez, L.I., A. Orihuela, C.S. Galina, I. Rubio, M. Corro, A. Cohen and A. Hernández. 2017. Effect of different periods of maternal deprivation on behavioral and cortisol responses at weaning and subsequent growth rate in zebu (Bos indicus) type cattle. Livest. Sci., 197: 17-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2016.12.006

Santo, N.K., U.K. Von Borstel and J. Sirovnik. 2020. The influence of maternal contact on activity, emotionality and social competence in young dairy calves. J. Dairy Res., 87(S1): 138-143. DOI: 10.1017/S0022029920000527

Van Reenen, C.G., B. Engel, L.F.M. Ruis-Heutinck, J.T.N. Van Der Werf, W.G. Buist, R.B. Jones and H.J. Blokhuis. 2004. Behavioural reactivity of heifer calves in potentially alarming test situations: A multivariate and correlational analysis. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 85(1-2): 11-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2003.09.007

Van Reenen, C.G., N.E. O’connell, J.T. Van Der Werf, S.M. Korte, H. Hopster, R.B. Jones and H.J. Blokhuis. 2005. Responses of calves to acute stress: Individual consistency and relations between behavioral and physiological measures. Physiology and Behavior, 85(5): 557-570. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.06.015

Vieira, A.D.P., A.M. De Passillé and D.M. Weary. 2012. Effects of the early social environment on behavioral responses of dairy calves to novel events. J. Dairy Sci., 95(9): 5149-5155. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2011-5073

Wagner, K., K. Barth, E. Hillmann, R. Palme, A. Futschik and S. Waiblinger. 2013. Mother rearing of dairy calves: Reactions to isolation and to confrontation with an unfamiliar conspecific in a new environment. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 147(1-2): 43-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.04.010

Wagner, K., K. Barth, R. Palme, A. Futschik and S. Waiblinger. 2012. Integration into the dairy cow herd: Long-term effects of mother contact during the first twelve weeks of life. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 141(3-4): 117-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.08.011

Wenker, M.L., C.G. Van Reenen, D. De Oliveira, K. Mccrea, C.M. Verwer and E.A. Bokkers. 2021. Calf-directed affiliative behaviour of dairy cows in two types of cow-calf contact systems. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 243: 105461. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105461

Wood-Gush, D.G. and K. Vestergaard. 1989. Exploratory behavior and the welfare of intensively kept animals. Journal of Agricultural Ethics, 2(2): 161-169. DOI: 10.1007/BF01826929