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Influences of Enrichment on Feedlot Cattle Behaviour and Productivity

Talk Overview
Cattle feedlot environments are often described as barren, providing limited opportunity for cattle to perform their full behavioural repertoire. The general public are becoming more interested in animal welfare, requiring industries to be transparent in how animals are treated and be able to prove a quality of life. Therefore, providing feedlot cattle with an opportunity to perform more natural behaviours could lead, not only to an improved quality of life at the feedlot, but may also impact productivity. While enrichment for dairy cattle has been investigated, studies on a commercial scale in feedlots are minimal. Our project looked at providing exercise as a form of enrichment, where cattle were let into the laneway for a period of time or moved calmly around their pen using low-stress stock handling. How these enrichments impacted cattle temperament (through crush scores and exit speeds, avoidance tests and novel person tests) and behaviour (ethogram) over a 40day period will be discussed. 

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