Die Mutter-Kind-Beziehung in der Mutterkuhhaltung
Abstract. Title of the paper: Mother-infant-relationships in a beef suckler cow herd
A beef suckler cattle herd (25 cows, 23 calves) was observed on pasture for mother-infant behaviour. This behaviour varied substantially in that 20 different suckling positions (with one, two or three calves suckling per cow) were observed during 299 sucklings.
The frequent occuring cross suckling, the diversity of suckling positions as well as the behaviour of cows during suckling are discussed in the context of the current literature.
In contrast to the literature, our results showed a higher incidence of cross suckling and a variety of suckling positions, indicating a disturbed bonding between the cow and its calf during birth.
The preferred lying order of the herd showed parallel lying positions along the periphery of the pasture. In conclusion, the results should encourage farmers to design their pastures according to the animal needs as well as including regular herd observations into herd management schemes.