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Comportement alimentaire, quantités ingérées et performances des bovins conduits en groupe

Abstract : Social hierarchy and leadership are two major components of social behaviour, which strongly influence intake and feeding behaviour of cattle managed in groups, In animals with high nutritional requirements (dairy or growing cattle) this effect is characterised by higher intake and lower feed conversion compared to situations where animals are individually fed (tie-stall systems or individual pens), The characteristics and environment of the animal groups (competition far food, density, number of feeders, animal number and characteristics, stability in group composition) also induce certain effects that we have attempted to quantify. Increasing density and decrease of width at trough or time of access to food induce a decrease in daily duration and synchronisation of eating, with an attendant increase in the eating rate which may help maintain the intake level, even with a high level of competition far food. Group size has little effect on intake and feeding behaviour; it only plays a role in dictating the time required for the social hierarchy to be established. Animals with high nutritional requirements have higher intake and eating rates and longer daily duration of eating than those with lower requirements, but the effect of within-group heterogeneity of nutritional requirements has not been assessed. Our on-farm studies have shown, however, that in most cases the within-group nutritional requirements of the beef cattle groups managed by the farmers are not homogenous, This raises the question of the potential deterioration of performances in animals kept in such heterogeneous groups.
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Stéphane Ingrand. Comportement alimentaire, quantités ingérées et performances des bovins conduits en groupe. Productions animales, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 2000, 13 (3), pp.151-163. ⟨hal-02693970⟩

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