Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Wheat in feed for broilers

“No two cows are alike in their behavioural characteristics. These individual differences become evident in the reactions and the sensitivity of cows towards environmental changes already in daily life situations. There is evidence that such behavioural characteristics predispose an animal’s stress responsiveness. We assessed two methods in order to quantify individual characteristics: (1) we asked farmers to judge the “”personality”” of their cows by a questionnaire, (2) we examined individual characteristics of dairy cows by behavioural tests and observations in their normal housing condition. Although we found consistent individual characteristics based on the questionnaire they are likely to be biased by selective attention of farmers. Specific behavioural tests and observations revealed consistent and reproducable individual differences, which may thus reflect consistent “”personality traits””. In further studies we will test whether and how individual behavioural characteristics are related to the stress responsiveness of dairy cows.”

To the archive