Rumination activity of export heifers

Gepubliceerd op
18 maart 2014

What's the effect of long distance transport on the rumination activity of heifers? In order to answer this question, researchers are monitoring the ruminations of heifers during long distance road transportations to southern France. Project manager, Wageningen UR researcher Kathalijne Visser, expects the first results to be available by the end of 2014.

For the assessment of cattle welfare, the innate need to ruminate is regarded as an important indicator. Transportation over long distances is stressful for the animal. The effects of transportation on the rumination behaviour of heifers is being monitored used newly designed, RumiWatch® halters. These halters have noseband sensors that register all jaw movements, explains researcher Kathalijne Visser. “It registers jaw movement at a frequency of 10 signals per second, validated algorithms deliver output for rumination, eating and drinking activity.“

The RumiWatch® halter system, provides registration of total time rumination and percentages of rumination behaviour can be monitored to an accuracy in minutes. The present project, examines the effect of two different driving and rest schemes on rumination behaviour in comparison to normal ruminant activity. Two transports have already been monitored and more will follow in 2014. This project is being performed at the request of the Dutch ministry for Economic affairs in close cooperation with the cattle and transport industry.

For further information please contact Kathalijne Visser