Advertisement
Article| Volume 80, ISSUE 8, P1613-1621, August 1997

Visual Discrimination in Adult Dairy Bulls

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.

      Abstract

      Adult Holstein-Friesian dairy bulls were trained to recognize a black disk and then to discriminate between that disk and smaller ones. The bulls learned these tasks, but much more slowly than did dairy calves. Achievement of a consistently high percentage of correct choices varied among bulls because of daily variation in the disposition of the bull, which seemed to affect willingness to concentrate on the experimental task. Nevertheless, all bulls demonstrated learning, and each bull remembered very well what he once had learned. A 36-cm disk was easily detected and discriminated from smaller disks. However, bulls were not able to discriminate between two disks that differed in area by less than a factor of 4. The ability to use visual cues, such as shapes and size of shapes, suggested that the visual system is important in the biology of bulls. The slow learning rate and the variability in the percentages of correct responses were not considered to be an indication of cognitive disabilities in general but rather a reflection of the daily disposition of the bull, which affected his willingness to cooperate.

      Key words

      References

        • Arave C.W.
        • Lamb R.C.
        • Arambel M.J.
        • Purcell D.
        • Walters J.L.
        Behavior and maze learning ability of dairy calves as influenced by housing, sex and sire.
        Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 1992; 33: 149
        • Baldwin B.A.
        Shape discrimination in sheep and calves.
        Anim. Behav. 1981; 29: 830
        • Fleiß J.L.
        Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions.
        2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY1981
        • Franz H.
        • Schmidt H.-P.
        • Siebert K.
        • Räder I.
        • Papstein H.-J.
        Learning and memory in cattle.
        in: Proc. 23rd Neurobiol. Conf, Göttingen, Germany; Thieme, Stuttgart, Germany1995: 12
        • Gilbert B.J.
        • Arave C.W.
        Ability of cattle to distinguish among different wavelengths of light.
        J. Dairy Sci. 1986; 69: 825
        • Güntürkün O.
        • Emmerton J.
        • Delius J.D.
        Neural asymmetries and visual behaviour in birds.
        in: Lüttgau H.C. Necker R. Biological Signal Processing. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim, Germany1989: 122
        • Hoffmann G.
        Untersuchungen über das Farbsehvermögen beim Zebu.
        Z. Tierpsychol. 1952; 9: 470
        • Hughes A.
        The topography of vision in mammals of contrasting life style: comparative optics and retinal organisation.
        in: Handbook of Sensory Physiology. Vol. 7/5. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany1977: 613
        • Jacobs G.H.
        The distribution and nature of colour vision among mammals.
        Biol. Rev. 1993; 68: 413
        • Kovalcik K.
        • Kovalcik M.
        Learning ability and memory testing in cattle of different ages.
        Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 1986; 15: 27
        • Macnab A.
        The Bulls of Iberia.
        Heinemann, Melbourne, Australia1957
        • Mantel N.
        • Haenszel W.
        Statistical aspects of the analysis of data from retrospective studies of disease.
        J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 1959; 22: 719
        • Phillips C.J.C.
        Cattle Behaviour.
        Farming Press, Ipswich, United Kingdom1993
        • Piggins D.
        Visual perception.
        in: Phillips C. Piggins D. Farm Animals and Their Environment. CAB Int, Wallingford, United Kingdom1992: 131
        • Rehkämper G.
        • Görlach A.
        Regressives Verhalten bei erwachsenen Bullen.
        Prakt. Tierarzt. 1996; 3: 212
      1. Renger, H. 1974. Aggressives Verhalten von Bullen dem Menschen gegenüber. Diss. (Med. Vet.), Ludwig Maximilians Univ., Munich, Germany.

        • Riol J.A.
        • Sanchez J.M.
        • Egwen U.G.
        • Gaudiosi U.R.
        Colour perception in fighting cattle.
        Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 1989; 23: 199
        • Schaeffer R.G.
        • Sikes J.D.
        Discrimination learning in dairy calves.
        J. Dairy Sci. 1971; 54: 893