Does the maternal grooming of cattle clean bacteria from the coat of calves?

Daisuke Kohari, Shusuke Sato, Yutaka Nakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The hygienic function of maternal grooming (MG) was investigated in beef cattle. Nine Japanese beef-type cow-calf pairs (six experimental pairs and three control pairs) were used in the fourth week after parturition. The bacteria on the calves' coats were compared numerically between before-MG samples of calves that had been deprived MG, and after-MG samples of those that had been allowed MG. Collected bacteria were incubated respectively on LB and DHL agars. In addition, the correlation between the quantity of MG and the decrement of bacteria was analysed. In the LB plate, bacteria were detected in all nine calves. The numbers of bacteria were significantly lower in the after-MG sample than in the before-MG sample (p < 0.0001) in the experimental calves. In the DHL plate, bacteria were detected on two calves of experimental group in before-MG sample. In the after-MG sample, bacteria had mostly disappeared on the DHL plate. No correlation was observed between the quantity of MG and the decrement of bacteria. However, the decrement was greater than 90% in four calves and more than 70% in two calves in the experimental group. These results suggest that maternal grooming may have a bacteria-removal effect and contribute to hygienic maintenance of the calves' body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-204
Number of pages3
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume80
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 1

Keywords

  • Bacteria
  • Cow
  • E. coli
  • Hygienic function
  • Maternal grooming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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