Behavioral aspects of electronic bull separation and mate allocation in multiple-sire mating paddocks
AuthorLee, C; Prayaga, KC; Fisher, AD; Henshall, JM
Source TitleJournal of Animal Science
PublisherAMER SOC ANIMAL SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sFisher, Andrew
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLee, C., Prayaga, K. C., Fisher, A. D. & Henshall, J. M. (2008). Behavioral aspects of electronic bull separation and mate allocation in multiple-sire mating paddocks. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, 86 (7), pp.1690-1696. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2007-0647.
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C1 - Journal Articles Refereed
Controlling spatial positioning of cattle through use of electronic collars could provide new ways to farm under extensive conditions. This study examined the potential for bulls to be controlled during mating using mild electric shocks delivered through radio-controlled collars. Eighteen Belmont Red bulls were fitted with collars containing the Global Positioning System and that were able to emit a mild electric shock (500 mW) at the top of the neck behind the poll. Eighteen Belmont Red cows were fitted with Global Positioning System collars only. The experiment was replicated 3 times in 3 paddocks. Each paddock contained 2 bulls and 1 cow in induced estrus. On d 1, the bulls were either assigned to the cow or not assigned to the cow, and on d 2, the assignments were reversed, and bulls received the other treatment using a new cow. Treatments were applied for 2 h on each day. The nonassigned bull received a mild electric shock on approach to either the cow or to a bull, whereas the assigned bull received a mild electric shock on approach to the other bull only. The electric shock was applied when the bulls were within approximately 10 m and moving toward the nonallowed animal. The electric shock was terminated when the animal responded by stopping movement toward the nonallowed animal. In the first 10 min, nonassigned bulls spent less time within 5 m of the cow (P = 0.03) than assigned bulls. Assigned bulls spent more time close to the cow during the entire 120 min on d 1 than on d 2 (P = 0.014). On d 1, the assigned bulls moved more toward the cow and the nonassigned bull than they did on d 2 (P = 0.02). Assigned bulls displayed more sexual behaviors than nonassigned bulls (P = 0.004). Nonassigned bulls were sometimes observed not to approach the cow despite a change in its location. This suggests that the bull associated the electric shock with the cow and not with the location in which it received the electric shock. Instances were observed in which the cow pursued the nonassigned bull, in which case the bull did not receive an electric shock, and this may reflect the preference of the cow. This study demonstrated that bulls can be separated and prevented from approaching a cow in estrus using a mild electric shock. However, mate allocation was not completely successful due to the potential for cow preference for certain bulls.
KeywordsVeterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified; Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified ; Livestock not elsewhere classified; Livestock Raising not elsewhere classified
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