Cows liked mechanical comb-brushes not less than food

Cows have a strong need for mechanical brushes with the help of which animals itch themselves: for them they are ready to overcome the same obstacles as for food. The study of this published in the journal Biology Letters, and also the New York Times writes about it.

Free-range cows, like many animals, itch about trees and other vertical surfaces to get rid of parasites, dead skin cells and dirt. Dairy cows living in stalls do not have this possibility, and in some countries, it is common to install special brushes for animals that rotate when they are touched. In Denmark, such brushes are required for all barns.

Marina von Keyserlingk from the University of British Columbia in Canada and her colleagues decided to find out what the cows are ready for to scratch. To do this, they built the gates of the pen with different weights - to open them, you had to move the load. 10 healthy pregnant Holstein cows taught to open the gates, behind which there was food, a mechanical brush or nothing.

Scientists gradually increased the weight of the load in order to understand at what point the animals would give up, and thus assess the relative importance of what is behind the gate. “The cows worked equally hard in order to get to the food and to the brush, and less persistently were interested in empty space. These results show that cows are highly motivated to gain access to a mechanical brush, and it is an important resource for them,”the article says.

Known animal behavior expert Temple Grandin, who was asked by NYT to comment on the work, noted that, in addition to merely meeting the hygienic needs of the cow, they are likely to itch also to relieve stress.“I will assume that they like it. It’s like going to the spa, ”Grandin said.

The authors of the study believe that brushes that are rather expensive and difficult to maintain, which are not yet mandatory in most countries, can become more common in animal husbandry if they show that animals need them for a healthy and happy life.

Source: https://nplus1.ru/news/

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