This study monitored the behaviour of calves docked with a rubber ring with or without local anaesthesia. Forty five 3 to 4 month old Friesian heifer calves were divided equally into three groups viz control (C), docked following local anaesthetic (L). After treatment the calves were returned to a paddock where their behaviour was monitored continuously for 5 hours with scan sampling every 10 minutes. Standing, walking, grazing and ruminating behaviours were similar in the 3 groups. Within 30 minutes of the treatment tail shaking, and vocalization occurred in 10 and 5 R calves and of them 2 calves continued to tail shake and vocalise for a further 60 minutes. Tail shaking and vocalisation occurred in 7 and 5 of the L calves respectively at 150 minutes. Two of these calves vocalised at 180 minutes and one at 210 minutes following treatment. C calves did not shake their tails or vocalise. These observations suggest that milk distress was experienced by approximately two thirds of docked calves.

P, Lacasse, VC Farr, SR Davis, and CG Prosser

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 55, , 14-16, 1995
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