Dairy calves are routinely disbudded using hot-iron cautery without pain relief in New Zealand, and studies have shown this procedure causes physiological and behavioural changes indicative of pain (Stafford & Mellor, 2011). To evaluate the effectiveness of different pain mitigation strategies during routine husbandry procedures (e.g., disbudding), intensive physiological and/or behavioural studies are needed. The limitations of these measures are that the methods (e.g., blood sampling) can cause animal stress and analysis of behaviour video recordings is labour intensive. Automated, non-invasive measures of behaviour are now available, such as feeding behaviour provided by automatic calf feeding systems (ACF) and activity, recorded using accelerometers (e.g., Hobo data loggers). Feeding and lying behaviours are altered in calves in response to stress and/or pain during procedures such as hot-iron cautery disbudding (Graf & Senn, 1999; Bates et al. 2015). It is well documented that this procedure causes significant pain. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if behavioural data collected from ACF and Hobo data loggers could be used as an indicator of paininduced distress in dairy calves.

MA Sutherland, GL Lowe, FJ Huddart, and M Stewart

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 76, Adelaide, 103-105, 2016
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