Background Naturally, following parturition the calf would remain with the cow, nursing for many months and forming strong bonds with its mother and other cows and calves within the herd. In contrast, the dairy-bred calf maybe removed from it’s dam within a few hours of birth and placed in individual or group housing and fed colostrum and milk artificially until weaning, whilst the cow re-enters the milking herd. Public concern about separating the cow and calf soon after birth is increasing. Therefore, more research is required to investigate possible cow-calf rearing systems which are attractive for farmers, the public and the animals. The research will focus on the effects of rearing the cow and calf together to meet the needs of both the cow and the calf and provide an opportunity for them to experience a much closer and more natural relationship.
Aims and Objectives The aim of this project is to explore cow-calf rearing systems to improve welfare on dairy farms. The objectives are to determine whether there are any behavioural, physiological or production differences between different rearing systems and to investigate optimal strategies of separating the calf and the cow.
The studentship includes tuition, bench and writing up fees and a tax-free stipend at the RCUK rate (£14,777 per annum 2018-2019 rate).