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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

New insight into social relationships in dairy cows and how time of birth, parity, and relatedness affect spatial interactions later in life

Marina, H.; Ren, K.; Hansson, I.; Fikse, F.; Nielsen, P. P.; Roennegard, L.


Social interactions between cows play a fundamental role in the daily activities of dairy cattle. Real-time location systems provide on a continuous and automated basis information about the position of individual cows inside barns, offering a valuable opportunity to monitor dyadic social contacts. Understanding dyadic social interactions could be applied to enhance the stability of the social structure promoting animal welfare and to aimed to identify the effect of different cow characteristics on the likelihood of the formation and persistence of social contacts in dairy cattle. The individual position of the lactating cows was automatically collected once per second for 2 wk, using an ultra-wideband system dairy cows inside a freestall barn. Social networks were constructed using the position data of 149 cows with available information on all characteristics during the study period. Social contacts were considered as a binary variable indicating whether a cow pair was within applying separable temporal exponential random graph ity interacted more consistently, as well as those born contacts among dairy cattle and to investigate the relaof diseases in the dairy cattle population.


animal behavior; animal welfare; precision livestock farming; social network analyses

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2024, Volume: 107, number: 2, pages: 1110-1123