Effects of Pair versus Individual Housing on Romanian Simmental x Limousine Crossbreed Calves Behaviour

Radu I. Neamț, Silviu Ilie Săplăcan, Stelian Acatincăi, Ludovic Toma Cziszter, Daniela E. Ilie


The aim of the study was to assess the effects of housing method on Romanian Simmental x Limousine (RS x L) crossbred calves behaviour. To investigate these effects 12 RS x L calves were separated from damns within the first hour after birth and were housed either individually (n=6) or in pair (n=3 pairs) on straw bedded pens. The inactive standing, habitat exploring and playing behaviours were recorded on days 15, 30, 45 and 60 after birth. Individually housed calves spent more time (P≤0.016) standing inactive (means ±SEM) 5.16±0.47 bouts / day compared to pair housed calves (3.12±0.57 bouts / day). In gregarious animals, presence of a partner reduces stress and fear due to the social isolation. The pair housed calves spent significantly less time (P≤0.039) to explore the habitat (3.5±0.56 bouts / day) compared to individually housed calves, which resulted in higher frequency of exploration bouts (5.83±0.79 bouts / day). Also, paired calves spent more time (P≤0.001) in social contact, playing with the partner (4.16±0.7 bouts / day) compared with individually housed calves (0.16±0.06 bouts / day). These results indicate that housing calves in pairs generated benefits for calves such as better welfare condition, social opportunities and expression of desired behaviours patterns.


housing method, crossbreed calves, welfare, behaviour

Full Text:



http://www.animal behavior.net/cattle

von Keyserlingk M.A.G., Daniel, M. Weary, Maternal behavior in cattle. Hormones and Behavior. Reproductive Behavior in Farm and Laboratory Animals 11th Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, 2007, 52(1), pp. 106-113

Le Blanc, M.M., Management of calf programs, Vet. Cli. of North America Large Anim. Pra., 1981, 3, 435

Maatje, K.J., Verhoeff, W.D.J., Kremer, A.L.M., Vruijsen, T.S.G.A.M., van Ingh, Automated feeding of milk replacer and health control of group-housed veal calves, 1993, Veterinary Record, 133, 266–270

Tomkins, T., Loose-housing experience in North America. Proc. of the Int. Symp. on Veal Calf Production. EEAP, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1991, pp. 67–70

Garber, L.P., Wells, S.J., Hancock, D.D., Doyle, M.P., Tuttle, J., Shere, J.A., Zhao, T., Risk factors for fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in dairy calves, Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 1995, 207(1), 46-9

Quigley, J.D. 3rd, Martin, K.R., Bemis, D.A., Potgieter, L.N., Reinemeyer, C.R., Rohrbach, B.W., Dowlen, H.H., Lamar, K.C., Effects of Housing and Colostrum Feeding on the Prevalence of Selected Infectious Organisms in Feces of Jersey Calves, J. of Dairy Sci., 1994, 77(10), 3124–3131

Lance, S.E., Miller, G.Y., Hancock, D.D., Bartlett, P.C., Heider, L.E., Moeschberger, M.L., Effects of environment and management on mortality in preweaned dairy calves, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 1992, 201(8), 1197-202

Gulliksen, S.M., K.I., Lie, T., Løken, O., Østerås, Calf mortality in Norwegian dairy herds, J. of Dairy. Sci., 2009, 92(6), 2782–2795

Fourichon, C., Beaudeau, F., Seegers, H., Critical points related to lousing and management in control programmes for calf morbidity and mortality in France dairy herds. In Ninth International Congress on Animal Hygiene, Helsinki, Finland, 1997, pp. 32-35

Hänninen, L., H., Hepola, J., Rushen, A.M., de Passillé, P., Pursiainen, V.-m., Tuure, L., Syrjälä-qvist, M., Pyykkönen, H., Saloniemi, Resting Behaviour, Growth and Diarrhoea Incidence Rate of Young Dairy Calves Housed Individually or in Groups in Warm or Cold Buildings, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A- Animal Science, 2003, 53(1), 21-28

Roy, J.H.B., The Calf. Vol. 1. Management of Health. Butterworths, Boston, MA., 1990

Arave, C.W., C.H., Mickelsen, J.L., Walters, Effect of Early Rearing Experience on Subsequent Behavior and Production of Holstein Heifers, J. of Dairy Sci., 1985, 68(4), 923-929

Kung, L.Jr., S., Demarco, L.N., Siebenson, E., Joyner, G.F.W., Haenlein, R.M., Morris, An evaluation of two management systems for rearing calves fed milk replacer, J. Dairy Sci., 1997, 80, 2529–2533

Jensen, M.B., Klaus, S.V., Christian, C.K., Play behaviour in dairy calves kept in pens: the effect of social contact and space allowance, Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 1998, 56(2–4), 97–108

Hill, T., Lewicki, P., Statistics: Methods and Applications. StatSoft, Tulsa, OK, USA, 2007

Færevik, G., Inger, L.A., Margit, B.J., Knut, E.B. Increased group size reduces conflicts and strengthens the preference for familiar group mates after regrouping of weaned dairy calves (Bos taurus), Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 108, 215-228

Chua, B., Coernen, E.J. van Delen, D.M., Weary, Effects of pair versus individual housing on the behavior and performance of dairy calves, J. Dairy. Sci., 2002, 85, 360-364

Hänninen, L., (2007). Sleep and rest in calves relationship to welfare, housing and hormonal activity, Academic dissertation by Kelsinki, 2007

Duve, L.R., Margit, B.J. The level of social contact affects social behaviour in pre-weaned dairy calves, Appl. Ani. Behav. Sci., 2011, 135(1-2), 34–43

Fericean, M.L., Radu. P., Olga, R. The behavior of calves, R.J.A.S., 2010, 42(2), 248

Rushen, J., D., Haleyand, A.M., de Passille, Effect of Softer Flooring in Tie Stalls on Resting Behavior and Leg Injuries of Lactating Cows, J. Dairy Sci., 2007, 90, 3647–3651

Weary, D.M., I., Taszkun, Hock lesions and free-stall design. J. Dairy Sci., 2000, 83, 697–702

Jensen, M.B., L.J., Pedersen, L., Munksgaard, The effect of reward duration on demand functions of rest in dairy heifers and lying requirements as measured by demand functions, Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 2005, 90, 207–217

De Wilt, J.G., Behaviour and welfare of veal calves in relation to husbandry systems. Dissertation. Agric. Univ. of Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1985

Acatincăi, S. Etologie. Comportamentul animalelor, Ed. Agroprint, Timisoara, 2013, pp. 202

Krysl, L., Hess, B.W., Influence of supplementation on behaviour of grazing cattle, J. of Anim. Sci., 1993, 71(9), 2546–55

Gaillard, C., Meagher, R.K., von Keyserlingk M.A.G., Weary, D.M., Social Housing Improves Dairy Calves' Performance in Two Cognitive Tests, PLoS ONE, 2014, 9(2)

Ellingsen, K.,Grahame, J.C., Vonne, L., Cecilie, M.M., Using qualitative behaviour assessment to explore the link between stockperson behaviour and dairy calf behavior, Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 2014, 153, 10–17

De Paula, V.A., A.M., de Passillé, D.M., Weary, Effects of the early social environment on behavioral responses of dairy calves to novel events, J. of Dairy Sci., 2012, 95(9), 5149-5155

Duve, L.R., D.M., Weary, U., Halekoh, M.B., Jensen, The effects of social contact and milk allowance on responses to handling, play, and social behavior in young dairy calves, J. of Dairy Sci., 2012, 95, 6571-6581

Held, S.D.E., M., Spinka, Animal play and animal welfare, Anim. Behav., 2011, 81, 891-899

Jensen, M.B., L.R., Duve, D.M., Weary, Pair housing and enhanced milk allowance increase play behavior and improve performance in dairy calves, J. of Dairy Sci., 2015, 98, 1-8

Krachun,K., Jeffrey, R., Anne Marie de Passille´, Play behaviour in dairy calves is reduced by weaning and by a low energy intake, Appl. Anim .Behav. Sci., 2010, 122, 71-76

Rushen, J., Anne Marie de Passillé, Automated measurement of acceleration can detect effects of age, dehorning and weaning on locomotor play of calves, Appl. Anim. Behav., 2012, 139(3-4), 169–174

Mintline, E.M., Sara, L.W., Anne Marie de Passillé, Jeffrey, R., Cassandra, B.T. Assessing calf play behavior in an arena test, Anim. Behav. Sci., 141, 101-107


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies

Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies publish open access articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (read full legal code).


ISSN print 1841 - 9364
ISSN online 2344 - 4576
ISSN-L  1841 - 9364
(former ISSN 1221-5287, E-ISSN 1841-9364)

PAPER ACCESS: Full text articles available for free
FREQUENCY: Semiannual

Banat´s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
Faculty of Animal Science and Biotechnologies
300645, Timişoara, Calea Aradului 119, Romania

E-mail: spasb [at] animalsci-tm.ro
Phone: +40-256-277160, Fax.: +40-256-277110