Objective—To determine the accuracy of accelerometers for measuring behavior changes in calves and to determine differences in beef calf behavior from before to after castration.
Animals—3 healthy Holstein calves and 12 healthy beef calves.
Procedures—2-dimensional accelerometers were placed on 3 calves, and data were logged simultaneous to video recording of animal behavior. Resulting data were used to generate and validate predictive models to classify posture (standing or lying) and type of activity (standing in place, walking, eating, getting up, lying awake, or lying sleeping). The algorithms developed were used to conduct a prospective trial to compare calf behavior in the first 24 hours after castration (n = 6) with behavior of noncastrated control calves (6) and with presurgical readings from the same castrated calves.
Results—On the basis of the analysis of the 2-dimensional accelerometer signal, posture was classified with a high degree of accuracy (98.3%) and the specific activity was estimated with a reasonably low misclassification rate (23.5%). Use of the system to compare behavior after castration revealed that castrated calves spent a significantly larger amount of time standing (82.2%), compared with presurgical readings (46.2%).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—2-dimensional accelerometers provided accurate classification of posture and reasonable classification of activity. Applying the system in a castration trial illustrated the usefulness of accelerometers for measuring behavioral changes in individual calves.