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For the 4th year specialization Applied Animal Sciences, you will work in small groups on a project. Below a few examples of these projects.

Lying behaviour of dairy cows

In this project, students used webcams to record the lying behaviour of cows on dairy farms. They found that that dairy cows on concrete floors need more time to stand up and lie down than cows on sand or deep litter bedding.

According to previous studies, this indicates that sand or deep litter bedding are better for the health and welfare of the cows.

Detection of mastitis with infrared cameras

In this project, students visited dairy farms to make thermographic images of udders of cows with and without mastitis.  
They discovered that this technique can be used to indicate the heat of the infection, enabling farmers to detect mastitis automatically using an infrared camera.

The effect of slow feeding systems on the feed intake behaviour of ponies

Feeding practices in the equine industry often consist of long periods of feed deprivation, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems or stereotypic behaviour. It has been hypothesised that an increase in feeding time using slow feeding systems may decrease such problems.

In this project, students studied the effect of a specific slow feeding system on the feed intake behaviour of ponies. They concluded that a slow feeding system with a mesh size of 7.5 * 7.5 increased the number of bites, but increased feeding time only slightly.

What sound does a happy cow make?

Noldus Information Technology B.V. has developed UltraVox, a software program that can accurately record animal sounds. During their final project, Applied Animal Sciences students studied whether this software could be used on dairy farms, and if so, how. For 15 days, they made recordings for 10 hours a day using cameras and microphones in a milking parlour at the HAS University of Applied Science practical facility in Herwijnen . Every time a cow mooed they recorded which cow made a noise and what sort of behaviour it was exhibiting. Behaviour was determined by examining behaviour displayed before, during and after the cow mooed. The students used UltraVox, to determine the frequency and amplitude of every mooing sound made, to enable them to easily differentiate between the different calls. The data revealed that cows that were lying down, chewing the cud contentedly made a low humming sound. For the dairy farmer it is important that cows spend plenty of time chewing the cud, because that is part of their daily rhythm. The amount of mooing with a low humming sound may therefore be an indication of the animal’s welfare.