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Towards sensor-based calving detection in the rangelands: A systematic review of credible behavioral and physiological indicators
journal contributionposted on 25.05.2021, 01:26 by Anita ChangAnita Chang, David SwainDavid Swain, Mark TrotterMark Trotter
Calving is a critical point in both a cow and calf’s life, when both become more susceptible to disease and risk of death. Ideally, this period is carefully monitored. In extensive grazing systems, however, it is often not economically or physically possible for producers to continuously monitor animals, and thus, calving frequently goes undetected. The development of sensor systems, particularly in these environments, could provide significant benefits to the industry by increasing the quantity and quality of individual animal monitoring. In the time surrounding calving, cows undergo a series of behavioral and physiological changes, which can potentially be detected using sensing technologies. Before developing a sensor-based approach, it is worthwhile considering these behavioral and physiological changes, such that the appropriate technologies can be designed and developed. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify changes in the dam’s behavioral and physiological states in response to a calving event. Articles (n = 104) consisting of 111 independent experiments were assessed following an intensive search of electronic databases. Commonly reported indicators of parturition (n = 38) were identified, and temporal trend graphs were generated for 13 of these changes. The results compare trends in behavioral and physiological changes across a variety of animal-related factors and identifies several reliable indicators of parturition for detection with sensors, namely calf grooming behavior, changes in rumination duration, and lying bouts. This synthesis of literature suggests that variability exists between individuals and thus, combining several calving indicators may result in a more broadly applicable and accurate detection of parturition.