Domestic Calves (Bos taurus) Recognize their Own Mothers by Auditory Cues

Authors

  • Christine H. Barfield,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis and Department of Biology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
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      Barheld, C. H., Tang-Martinez, Z. & Trainer, J. M. 1994: Domestic calves (Bos taurus) recognize their own mothers by auditory cues. Ethology 97, 257–264.

  • Zuleyma Tang-Martinez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis and Department of Biology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
      Department of Biology, University of Missouri, St Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St Louis, MO 63121–4499, USA.
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    • 3

      Barheld, C. H., Tang-Martinez, Z. & Trainer, J. M. 1994: Domestic calves (Bos taurus) recognize their own mothers by auditory cues. Ethology 97, 257–264.

  • Jill M. Trainer

    1. Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis and Department of Biology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
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    • 3

      Barheld, C. H., Tang-Martinez, Z. & Trainer, J. M. 1994: Domestic calves (Bos taurus) recognize their own mothers by auditory cues. Ethology 97, 257–264.


Department of Biology, University of Missouri, St Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St Louis, MO 63121–4499, USA.

Abstract

The goal of this study was to determine if auditory cues are important in maternal recognition by domestic cattle calves, Bos taurus. Cows and their calves were separated and the vocalizations of the mothers were recorded. During experimental playbacks in a test enclosure, each calf (n = 9) was given a choice between a tape-recorded vocalization of its mother and that of a strange mother. Calves significantly preferred their own mother's vocalization as compared to the vocalization of the unfamiliar mother. Calves spent significantly more time near the speaker that played their own mother's call, and approached significantly closer to their mother's speaker. These results demonstrate that 3–5-wk-old calves can recognize their mothers by auditory cues alone. Visual inspection of audiospectrograms of the cows' vocalizations suggests that there are individual differences among cows.

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