Comparison of the welfare of beef cattle in housed and grazing systems: hormones, health and behaviour

N - Datasets

Cooke, A., Morten, C., Le-Grice, P., Hockenhull, J., Griffith, B. A., Mullan, S. M., Le Cocq, K., Lee, M. R. F., Cardenas, L. M. and Rivero, M. J. 2024. Comparison of the welfare of beef cattle in housed and grazing systems: hormones, health and behaviour. Rothamsted Research. https://doi.org/10.23637/rothamsted.99028

AuthorsCooke, A., Morten, C., Le-Grice, P., Hockenhull, J., Griffith, B. A., Mullan, S. M., Le Cocq, K., Lee, M. R. F., Cardenas, L. M. and Rivero, M. J.
Abstract

The objective of this dataset was to compare animal welfare of two different beef rearing systems, using a mixture of physical measurements and qualitative behaviour analysis. Physical measurements involved visual assessment of a range of symptoms associated with common disease and infections of cattle: cleanliness, hairlessness, swellings, ocular discharge, nasal discharge, diarrhoea, lameness, lesions, and body condition score, in addition to quantification of the hormones serotonin and cortisol in hair and nasal mucus. The two beef rearing systems were on the North Wyke Farm Platform and largely differed in the housing of the cattle. One group was housed year-round, while the other group were housed during the winter but grazed on pasture during the summer.

Year of Publication2024
PublisherRothamsted Research
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.23637/rothamsted.99028
Keywordsanimal welfare
animal behaviour
beef cattle
livestock production
agricultural sciences
zoology
animal health
Publication dates
Online03 May 2024
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
CIEL
Related Output
Has metadatahttps://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859623000357
Has metadatahttps://doi.org/10.23637/rothamsted.98y1x
Has metadatahttps://doi.org/10.23637/rothamsted.98y50
Is supplement tohttps://nwfp.rothamsted.ac.uk/
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
The North Wyke Farm Platform- National Capability [2017-22]
Data files
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Data type
Spreadsheet
Contents
Data
File Access Level
Open
Data files
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Data type
Spreadsheet
Contents
Documentation
File Access Level
Open
Data files
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Data type
Spreadsheet
Contents
Documentation
File Access Level
Open
Data collection period02 Nov 2020 to end of 20 Jul 2021
Geographic location
N50.77642 E-3.92384
Data collection method

This dataset relates to cattle on the North Wyke Farm Platform, a National Bioscience Research Infrastructure. Of relevance to this paper are two beef rearing systems (referred to as ‘farmlets’). The Brown farmlet had cattle housed all year around, while the green farmlet housed cattle during the winter months but grazed them on pasture for the rest of the year. Both farmlets had 30 stabiliser and stabiliser cross cattle, and the two groups were housed separately from one another. The North Wyke Farm Platform is data rich and highly documented, and details about the farmlets and livestock can be found in the related information. There is also a lot of related data available on the North Wyke Farm Platform data portal (https://nwfp.rothamsted.ac.uk/), which is free to use after registration. During the course of the study, cattle from the Brown farmlet reached their target weights and were sold for slaughter as part of the normal management practice. The herd size over time can be seen in the Supplement B of the associated manuscript (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021859623000357). The cattle from the Green farmlet grew more slowly and therefore didn’t reach their target weight during the study.

QBAs were conducted weekly between the 20th November 2020 and the 20th July 2021 in-person, and they were carried out wherever the cattle were, whether that was in a barn in a pasture field. For the assessments where animals were in a pasture field, the assessor stood at the field boundary, in the barn they were stood in a feeding passage. During the QBA events, assessors made the minimum of noise or movement so as not to disturb the cattle. Once any behavioural effect resulting from the assessors’ appearance had subsided, a 10-minute observation period began. As soon as this period finished, assessors filled out observation forms. The assessors rated the cattle behaviour as a group for 20 characteristics, both positive and negative, using definitions derived and adapted from the Welfare Quality protocol for cattle (2009; Lelystad, Netherlands: Welfare Quality Consortium). Scoring resulted in a numerical value between zero (complete absence of that characteristic) to 125 (observed to the greatest realistic extent possible). Definitions of the characteristics, as used by the assessors, can be found in Column_units_and_definitions.csv, or Supplement C of the associated manuscript.

Four physical assessments of the cattle were made. Two during the winter (2nd November 2020 and 16th February 2021), and two during the summer (16th May 2021 and 21st June 2021). The cattle from the Green farmlet were on pasture during these summer assessments. Cattle were assessed while they were in the race, waiting to be weighed, and were assessed from the right-hand side of their bodies. Eight health indicators, selected and adapted from the Welfare Quality protocol (2009; Lelystad, Netherlands: Welfare Quality Consortium) and the AssureWel protocol (2017; Beef Cattle Assessment Protocol. Bristol, UK: AssureWel.), were used to cover a range of symptoms associated with common disease and infections of cattle: cleanliness, hairlessness, swellings, ocular discharge, nasal discharge, diarrhoea, lameness, and lesions. Body condition scoring (BCS) was also carried out at the same time, with scores in line with NADIS guidelines (2010; NADIS Animal Health Skills – Condition Score (BCS) in Beef Herds. Haverfordwest, UK: NADIS). Definitions of the physical assessments can be found in Column_units_and_definitions.csv or Table 1 of the associated manuscript. At the same time as the physical assessments, samples of hair and nasal mucus were taken for hormone analysis, full details can be found in Supplements D and E of the associated manuscript.

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/99028/comparison-of-the-welfare-of-beef-cattle-in-housed-and-grazing-systems-hormones-health-and-behaviour

56 total views
7 total downloads
56 views this month
7 downloads this month
Download files as zip