The aim of this study is to examine whether calf training for loading at the weaning period improves later loading. Five calves were allocated to the trained group and the control group, respectively. Calves in the trained group were loaded onto a livestock trailer for 5 successive days at weaning. Trainers led or hauled the calves by rope only. When loading was completed, trainers fed calves with sugar cubes as rewards. Calves in the control group were weaned without any treatment. Five weeks after weaning, tests were carried out under similar conditions as the trained group. Loading efficiency, physical effort on the handler and handling stress on calves between groups were compared. Trained calves were loaded significantly faster than control calves. Trained calves balked less during loading than control calves. Heart rates of handlers after loading were significantly lower in the trained group than in the control group; however, salivary amylase activity and cortisol concentration was not different between groups. Physical effort and stress on handlers would be almost the same in both groups. Heart rate, plasma cortisol, NEFA and CPK of calves were significantly increased only in the control group after loading. These results show calf training improves loading efficiency and reduces stress on calves.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)