The behavior of Charolais cross heifers kept in experimental feedlot pens (3 pens, N = 10 per pen) was observed for frequency and duration of use of and percentages of animals interacting with, five environmental potential enrichment devices (PEDs) over a period of 22 days. The PEDs consisted of a scratching/rubbing walkway, a moveable scratching/rubbing device, a milk-scent releasing device, a lavender-scent releasing device and a control non-scented device. The scratching/rubbing devices had higher durations and frequencies of use than the scent devices (P < 0.05). Use of the scratching/rubbing walkway decreased in frequency and duration but this stabilized by day 16 (P < 0.05). Use of the moveable scratching/rubbing PED fluctuated but there were no differences between day 2 and day 22, the last day of the trial. The scratching/rubbing walkway and the moveable scratching/rubbing device were also used by more animals (75.0 and 75.8%) than the milk, lavender and blank-scent devices (50.0, 20.0 and 15.8%, pooled S.E. = 3.98, P < 0.05). Frequency and duration of use of the milk-scent and lavender-scent device was higher on day 2 than for the blank-scent device but there were virtually no differences between the three devices for the remainder of the trial. These results indicate that the scratching/rubbing devices are good environmental enrichment candidates while cattle quickly lost interest in the tested scent devices.
- Environmental enrichment devices