Recent Animal Sciences graduate Jaime Uren won first place at the American Dairy Science Association – Student Affiliate Division (ADSA-SAD) annual meeting, in the Undergraduate Production Oral Presentation Competition. Uren, from Dexter, Michigan presented a paper inspired by her Honors research project entitled, “Environmental Enrichment in Dairy Cows and Calves.” Her Honors project advisor was Dr. Maurice Eastridge.
Uren submitted a literature review examining the use of enrichment tools (rotating, mechanical brushes) for scratching purposes, and their impact on dairy cattle well-being. “The research on environmental enrichment is broader for dairy calves and there is less in-field use of mechanical brushes for calves, but I'm excited to see what the future holds in the area of dairy calf enrichment,” said Uren.
Animal enrichment is useful for increasing consumer support of the dairy industry and has positive animal health and welfare implications. “Providing cows and calves with valuable environmental enrichment allows producers to state that they are doing everything they can to maintain good animal welfare on-farm,” said Uren. “Additionally, research has indicated that analyzing cow behavior around a mechanical brush may be a convenient tool to monitor dairy cow welfare and health. This would be a major benefit to producers as well.”
Animal welfare and behavior are important research areas for Uren. She plans to continue her research in those areas when she starts at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in the autumn.