Social proximity in dairy calves is affected by differences in pessimism

Autoři: Benjamin Lecorps aff001;  Sarah Kappel aff001;  Daniel M. Weary aff001;  Marina A. G. von Keyserlingk aff001
Působiště autorů: Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223746


Negative social interactions have been extensively studied in dairy cattle, but little is known about the establishment of positive (preferential) relationships. Adult dairy cows are known to spend more time at close proximity to specific social partners, indicating that they establish stronger bonds with these animals, but few studies have explored what happens in socially housed calves. In this study, we explored whether calves that spent their entire life in the same social group established social preferences (i.e. pairs of individuals that interact more) that are stable over time (two 48-h periods, separated by three days), across two types of behavior (standing and lying) and across contexts (change in environment and housing design). When housed in an open pack, calves showed consistent proximity patterns when standing (but not when lying). These preferential relationships persisted even after calves were moved into a new pen fitted with free stalls. At the individual level, calves varied in how selective they were in their social relationships, with some calves spending much more time with specific partners than did others. This degree of selectivity was not associated to Sociability, marginally associated to Fearfulness, but was associated with Pessimism (more pessimistic calves were more selective in their social relationships). In conclusion, calves can form selective relationships that appeared to be consistent over time and across context, and the degree to which calves were selective varied in relation to individual differences in Pessimism.

Klíčová slova:

Animal sociality – Behavior – Cattle – Interpersonal relationships – Linear regression analysis – Motivation – Personality traits – Personality tests


1. Seyfarth RM, Cheney DL. The evolutionary origins of friendship. Annu Rev Psychol. 2012;63: 163–177. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100337 21740224

2. Seyfarth RM. Reciprocal Altruism in Vervet Monkeys. Nature. 1984;308: 1–2. doi: 10.1038/308001a0

3. Gygax L, Neisen G, Wechsler B. Socio-spatial relationships in dairy cows. Ethology. 2010;116: 10–23. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01708.x

4. Gutmann AK, Špinka M, Winckler C. Long-term familiarity creates preferred social partners in dairy cows. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2015;169: 1–8. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.05.007

5. Boyland NK, Mlynski DT, James R, Brent LJN, Croft DP. The social network structure of a dynamic group of dairy cows: from individual to group level patterns. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2015;174: 1–10. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.11.016

6. Holm L, Jensen MB, Jeppesen LL. Calves’ motivation for access to two different types of social contact measured by operant conditioning. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2002;79: 175–194. doi: 10.1016/S0168-1591(02)00137-5

7. Duve LR, Jensen MB. Social behavior of young dairy calves housed with limited or full social contact with a peer. J Dairy Sci. 2012;95: 5936–5945. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5428 22901479

8. Raussi S, Niskanen S, Siivonen J, Hänninen L, Hepola H, Jauhiainen L, et al. The formation of preferential relationships at early age in cattle. Behav Proc. 2010;84: 726–731. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.05.005 20457231

9. Costa JHC, von Keyserlingk MAG, Weary DM. Invited review: Effects of group housing of dairy calves on behavior, cognition, performance, and health. J Dairy Sci. 2016;99: 2453–2467. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-10144 26874423

10. Silk JB. The adaptive value of sociality in mammalian groups. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci. 2007;362: 539–559. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1994 17363359

11. Reinhardt V, Reinhardt A. Cohesive relationships in a cattle herd (Bos indicus). Behaviour. 1981;77: 121–151.

12. Whithead H. Analyzin Animal societies:Quantitative Methods for Vertebrate Soacial Analysis. Unyversity Chicago Press. 2008; 332. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

13. Réale D, Reader SM, Sol D, McDougall PT, Dingemanse NJ. Integrating animal temperament within ecology and evolution. Biol Rev. 2007;82: 291–318. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2007.00010.x 17437562

14. Gibbons JM, Lawrence AB, Haskell MJ. Measuring sociability in dairy cows. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2010;122: 84–91. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.11.011

15. Lecorps B, Kappel S, Weary DM, Von Keyserlingk MAG. Dairy calves’ personality traits predict social proximity and response to an emotional challenge. Sci Rep. 2018;8: 16350. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-34281-2 30397225

16. Vickers KJ, Niel L, Kiehlbauch LM, Weary DM. Calf response to caustic paste and hot-iron dehorning using sedation with and without local anesthetic. J Dairy Sci. 2005;88: 1454–1459. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(05)72813-7 15778314

17. Bolt SL, Boyland NK, Mlynski DT, James R, Croft DP, Bergmüller R, et al. Pair housing of dairy calves and age at pairing: Effects on weaning stress, health, production and social networks. PLoS One. 2017;12: e0166926. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166926 28052122

18. Lecorps B, Weary DM, Von Keyserlingk MAG. Pessimism and fearfulness in dairy calves. Sci Rep. 2018;8. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17214-3 29362460

19. Destrez A, Deiss V, Belzung C, Lee C, Boissy A. Does reduction of fearfulness tend to reduce pessimistic-like judgment in lambs? Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2012;139: 233–241. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.04.006

20. Forkman B, Boissy A, Meunier-Salaun MC, Canali E, Jones RB. A critical review of fear tests used on cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry and horses. Physiol Behav. 2007;92: 340–374. Available: doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.03.016 18046784

21. von Keyserlingk MAG, Cunha GE, Fregonesi JA, Weary DM. Introducing heifers to freestall housing. J Dairy Sci. 2011;94: 1900–1907. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3994 21426979

22. Reinhardt V, Mutiso FM, Reinhardt A. Social behaviour and social relationships between female and male prepubertal bovine calves (Bos indicus). Appl Anim Ethol. 1978;4: 43–54. doi: 10.1016/0304-3762(78)90092-5

23. Færevik G, Jensen MB, Bøe KE. Dairy calves social preferences and the significance of a companion animal during separation from the group. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2006;99: 205–221. Available:

24. Foris B, Zebunke M, Langbein J, Melzer N. Comprehensive analysis of affiliative and agonistic social networks in lactating dairy cattle groups. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2018.10.016

25. Kulahci IG, Rubenstein DI, Ghazanfar AA. Lemurs groom-at-a-distance through vocal networks. Anim Behav. 2015;110: 179–186. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.09.016

26. Clegg ILK, Rödel HG, Delfour F. Bottlenose dolphins engaging in more social affiliative behaviour judge ambiguous cues more optimistically. Behav Brain Res. 2017;322: 115–122. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.01.026 28110003

27. Gordon DJ, Rogers LJ. Cognitive bias, hand preference and welfare of common marmosets. Behav Brain Res. 2015;287: 100–108. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.03.037 25813746

28. Burman OHP, Mendl MT. A novel task to assess mood congruent memory bias in non-human animals. J Neurosci Methods. 2018; 0–1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.07.003 30352692

29. Carver CS, Scheier MF. Dispositional Optimism. Trends Cogn Sci. 2014;18: 293–299. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2014.02.003 24630971

30. Horback KM, Parsons TD. Judgement bias testing in group-housed gestating sows. Behav Proc. 2019;159: 86–92. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.12.021 30610905

31. Rygula R, Papciak J, Popik P. Trait pessimism predicts vulnerability to stress-induced anhedonia in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013;38: 2188–96. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.116 23660704

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 10