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Gewählte Master / Diploma Thesis:

Ronja Landvogt (2022): (In)consistency of body language in dairy cattle.
Master / Diploma Thesis - Institut für Nutztierwissenschaften (NUWI), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 98. UB BOKU obvsg FullText

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
Good welfare of farmed animals is of increasing importance in society. In this context, animal behaviour and body language are promising indicators of animal welfare, including (positive) affective states. As a prerequisite for reliable assessments, this master thesis focuses on the occurrence and consistency of different measures of body language of dairy cattle, which may in future be used in on-farm animal welfare assessment protocols. We investigated consistency on individual animal as well as on herd level with regard to time periods between observations (short - from one day to the next, medium - 2-3 days later, long - 11-17 days later) and age category (cow, heifer, calf) while also taking basic body position (lying, standing) into account. An ethogram describing the body language of dairy cattle was developed and inter-observer reliability tested and proven. Over a period of 6 weeks, 4 observers performed live observation rounds of 15 observation cycles per animal and day in 24 cows, 13 heifers and 12 calves of the Holstein (HF) and Swedish Red and White (SRB) breed. In total 5,491 and 2,126 one-min observation cycles were recorded for lying and standing animals, respectively. Occurrences and consistencies of several postures and behaviours differed across basic body positions and age categories. However, the length of the time periods between observations did not systemically affect consistency. This study may serve as a reference for further investigations of body language in dairy cattle. For future on-farm animal welfare assessment purposes, sub-sampling of age categories and animals in different body positions is recommended. Due to unchanged (in)consistency of many postures over different time periods it is however irrelevant when observations take place. To obtain reliable data, multiple observation days should be considered to fully reflect the body language of dairy cattle.

Beurteilende*r: Winckler Christoph
1.Mitwirkender: Hintze Sara

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