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Human and animal behaviour in dairy buffalo at milking

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This study aims to investigate the relationship between human behaviour, buffalo behaviour and prevalence of oxytocin injection at milking. The research was carried out on 17 buffalo farms. On each farm the stockperson's behaviour toward the buffaloes and the buffaloes' behaviour were observed during one afternoon's milking. Stockperson's behaviour was observed from collection of the animals in the waiting area to exit from the milking parlour. The following variables were recorded: number of positive, neutral and negative interactions. The number of steps and kicks were recorded from the entrance to the milking parlour to the removal of cups whenever the stockperson was less than 0.5 m from the animal. The prevalence of oxytocin injection at milking was recorded on two separate occasions with a 5-month interval to obtain a measure of the long-term consistency of this variable. Significant correlations were found between stepping and kicking, stepping and prevalence of oxytocin injection, kicking and prevalence of oxytocin injection and stockperson positive interactions and kicking. These results indicate that stockperson behaviour is related to buffalo behaviour at milking and the latter to the use of oxytocin injections. In addition, prevalence of oxytocin injection proved to be highly reliable when re-tested five months later.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; DAIRY BUFFALO; HUMAN-ANIMAL RELATIONSHIP; LONG-TERM CONSISTENCY; MILKING; OXYTOCIN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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