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|Title:||Relationship between number and intensity of fighting: Evidence from cow fighting tournaments in Valdostana cattle||Authors:||Sartori, Cristina
Manser, Marta B.
|Keywords:||Aggressiveness;Agonistic behaviour;Cow battle;Social dominance;Valdostana cattle||Keywords Plus:||DEER DAMA-DAMA;FALLOW DEER;DAIRY-COWS;SOCIAL-DOMINANCE;AGONISTIC INTERACTIONS;SPACE ALLOWANCE;ANIMAL CONTESTS;ANTLER SIZE;BEHAVIOR;ABILITY||Issue Date:||13-Oct-2014||Publisher:||PAGEPRESS PUBL||Journal:||Italian Journal of Animal Science||Abstract:||
© C. Sartori et al., 2014 Licensee PAGEPress, Italy. Cattle establish firm dominance relationships through ritualised fights. This study aimed at investigating behaviours involved in dominance relationships and effect of factors such as weight, age and repeated fighting experience in fighting dynamics. Subject of the study was the Valdostana breed, whose cows assess dominance relationships in traditional competitions. Tournaments consist in rounds in which cows interact in pairs to assess dominance. Only winners participate in subsequent rounds. An amount of 120 fights involving 145 cows was retained, and winners (51 cows) were considered as focal individuals. An ethogram of agonistic interactions was established, including behaviours of different agonistic intensity as physical interactions (pushes, clashes), displays (threats, vocalisations), and non agonistic approaches. A transition diagram of behaviours showed a tendency to express firstly non agonistic approaches and lastly more aggressive clashes. A mixed linear model analysis on traits like competition intensity, duration, and type of behaviours expressed showed a significant effect of age difference on behaviours. However, the most important factor was the number of rounds performed: from the first to subsequent fights agonistic intensity and physical contacts increased, and displays reduced. This may be due either to the fact that more aggressive individuals were likely to be the winners, or that in higher rounds the opponents were more similar regarding fighting ability or aggressiveness and thus more intense fights occurred. The increased aggressiveness after repeated situations of competition suggests suggests that careful attention should be paid to welfare when animals are exposed to situations of high competition, like regrouping.
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