Function of Tongue-Playing of Cattle in Association With Other Behavioral and Physiological Characteristics
AbstractTo study the function of tongue-playing of cattle, this study observed 71 Japanese Black Holstein steers after feeding in 2 repetitive experiments. The number of steers who performed tongue-playing did not differ among the 3 levels of environmentally enriched pens. Most (90.6%) performances of tongue-playing terminated within 20 min. Frequency of tongue-playing positively correlated with the frequency of resting ( r = 0.25, p < .05). Frequency of eating was lower in tongue-playing steers ( n = 40) than in non-tongue-playing steers ( n = 31; p < .05). Frequencies of self-grooming ( p < .05), ruminating ( p < .05), and lying ruminating ( p < .01) were higher in tongue-playing steers. Plasma dopamine concentration was lower in tongue-playing steers ( p < .05). In conclusion, tongue-playing that lasts only for a short time after feeding was induced by behavioral features of steers who rest more and eat hay less at the same time as they perform grooming and ruminating.