Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Consistency of animal order in spontaneous group movements allows the measurement of leadership in a group of grazing heifers

Abstract : The term ‘leadership’ has been used in several different senses, resulting in very different ways of identifying leaders and apparently inconsistent conclusions on how leadership is determined in herbivores. We therefore propose the following definitions: (i) a leader is the individual that is consistently the one who initiates long-distance, spontaneous group movements toward a new feeding site and (ii) long-distance spontaneous group movements are movements which happen when an animal changes activity and location and is immediately followed by a similar change in activity and location by other members of the group. Using these definitions, we tested for consistency of movement order across time and situation within a group of fifteen 2-year-old heifers.We found that the same individual was recorded as the very first animal in 48% of movements toward a new feeding site and could therefore be identified as the ‘leader’. We also showed that movement order when the animals entered an experimental plot, or progressed slowly through the field during a grazing bout, did not produce the same result. This method, which enables us to identify leaders in groups of animals at pasture, should improve our knowledge of how leadership is determined in grazing herbivores.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02677944
Contributor : Migration Prodinra <>
Submitted on : Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 7:58:44 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 9:10:02 AM

Identifiers

Collections

Citation

Bertrand Dumont, Alain Boissy, Caroline Achard, A.M. Sibbald, Hans Erhard. Consistency of animal order in spontaneous group movements allows the measurement of leadership in a group of grazing heifers. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Elsevier, 2005, 95 (1-2), pp.55-66. ⟨hal-02677944⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

8