Journal article

The effect of positive or negative handling on the behavioural and physiological responses of nonlactating heifers

K Breuer, PH Hemsworth, GJ Coleman

Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Published : 2003

Abstract

This experiment investigated the effects of positive and negative tactile handling on the stress physiology and behaviour of dairy heifers. Forty-eight 5-14-month-old nonlactating Holstein-Friesian heifers were allocated to one of two handling treatments, either positive or negative tactile handling, over four time replicates. Handling was imposed twice daily, 2-5 min per session and involved moving animals individually along a 64 m outdoor route. The negatively handled heifers took longer to approach within 1 and 2 m of a stimulus person in a standard test, than their positively handled counterparts (P < 0.001) and had a greater flight distance to an approaching stimulus (P < 0.001). The ti..

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