Cover: Methods in cattle physiology and behaviour research – Recommendations from the SmartCow consortium

Methods in cattle physiology and behaviour research – Recommendations from the SmartCow consortium

Sadjad Danesh Mesgaran, René Baumont, Lene Munksgaard, David Humphries, Emer Kennedy, Jan Dijkstra, Richard Dewhurst, Holly Ferguson, Marta Terré and Björn Kuhla (editors)

This publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of the Leibniz Association and the Open Access Fund of the FBN.


  • Preface
  • Foreword
  • Ethical aspects in experiments with cattle
    • Introduction
    • Guideline on ethical approval of animal experiments
  • Implementation of the 3R principles
  • Feed and water intake
    Sadjad Danesh Mesgaran, Björn Kuhla, David Humphries, Martin Weisbjerg, Peter Lund, Emer Kennedy, Michael O'Donovan, Michelle Liddane, Norann Galvin, Jan Dijkstra, René Baumont
    • Introduction
    • Feed intake measurement in indoor-feeding system (TMR and PMR)
    • Feed intake measurement in pasture-based system
    • Individual water intake measurement
  • Reproductive assessment
    Sadjad Danesh Mesgaran, Björn Kuhla, Michael O'Donovan, Peter-Christian Schön, Volker Röttgen
    • Introduction
    • Heat detection
    • Heat detection via vocalization
    • Pregnancy examination
  • Bodyweight, body condition and anatomy
    Sadjad Danesh Mesgaran, Martin Weisbjerg, Alex Bach, Jennifer Salau, Jan H. Haas, Wolfgang Junge, Georg Thaller, Björn Kuhla
    • Introduction
    • Bodyweight
    • Body condition scoring
    • Back fat thickness
    • Mammary gland volume
  • Body temperature and thermal imaging
    • Introduction
    • Body temperature
    • Thermal imaging
  • Rumen fluid sampling via oral stomach tubing method
    • Introduction
    • Sampling guidelines
  • Ruminal pH
    Sadjad Danesh Mesgaran, Björn Kuhla, Michael Dineen, Mathieu Silberberg
    • Introduction
    • Monitoring rumen pH
  • Stress and health assessment
    • Introduction
    • Heart rate and heart rate variability
    • Reflection spectroscopy for oxidative status assessment
  • Nutrient digestibility and balance studies
    • Introduction
    • Passage rate and digesta retention time
    • In vivo nutrient digestibility and nitrogen balance
  • Milk intake, body anatomy and composition in calves
    • Introduction
    • Milk intake
    • Monitoring rumen development
    • Mammary parenchyma
    • Body composition evaluation using Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
    • Body composition measurement using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • The gas recovery test of respiratory chambers
  • Respiratory chamber facility
  • Greenfeed system
  • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique
  • A checklist to validate sensor output for the recording of cattle behaviour
  • Behavioural tests
  • Lying, standing and eating behaviour
  • Rumination Activity
  • Lameness detection and scoring