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Margit Bak Jensen

Use of attention bias and eyedness to assess emotional states in drying-off dairy cows

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch

Cognitive processes either can trigger or be influenced by emotional states. Additionally, asymmetric brain activity may reflect emotional valence in many vertebrates. In dairy cows, dry-off protocols often comprise changes in feeding and milking levels, which may elicit negative emotional states, such as hunger and discomfort. As part of an ongoing project, we propose an attention bias and eyedness test to assess isolate and combined effects of two feeding strategies (lactation diet or energy-reduced lactation diet) and two milking strategies (gradual or abrupt cessation of milking) on the emotional states of cows prior to the dry-off day (DO). Healthy loose-housed Holstein cows with a milk yield of at least 15 kg/d randomly allocated to 1 of 4 treatments (feeding level x milking frequency) are individually tested in a familiar experimental hall with the presence of a companion cow at days -7 (before treatment experience), -5 and -2 relative to DO. The test consists of two phases, before and after novel stimulus presentation. In the first phase, concentrate is offered and the latency to eat is registered. In the second phase, after stimulus removal from the cow’s eyesight, the latency to resume eating, head position and eye use to observe the feeding area are video recorded. Cows experiencing hunger might display shorter latency to eat and reduced vigilance. Furthermore, hunger and discomfort experience might result in a negative perception of the novel stimulus, which is reflected by the prevalence of the left eye use.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year19 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2018
EventReally relaxed or deeply depressed? Low arousal states and animal welfare - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Duration: 19 Sep 201820 Sep 2018

Workshop

WorkshopReally relaxed or deeply depressed? Low arousal states and animal welfare
LocationUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period19/09/201820/09/2018

    Research areas

  • emotional state, cattle, attention bias, behaviour, dry-off, hunger

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