Dominance controlled in groups

DAIRY BULLS reared alone, bucket-fed in individual pens, are more likely to cause accidents than beef bulls reared in groups, warns US animal behaviour scientist Temple Grandin.

According to a report in Hoard”s Dairyman, Prof Grandin says one trial showed 75% of individually reared bulls threatened handlers. Yet only one bull out of 1000 dam-reared bulls attacked.

 reared alone

 “When a bull calf has been reared alone he thinks he is a person and wants to exert his dominance over a herd – that includes people,” explains Prof Grandin.

 She recommends bull calves should be penned with other calves from six weeks of age. When old enough to start breeding, a bull should join a group of either dry cows or in-calf heifers to learn social relations.

 “And never isolate a bull for treatment. Take a few cows with him – any animal gets scared when alone,” she adds.

See more