PSII-12 Identifying behaviors and the normal daily ethogram using accelerometers on grazing animals Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Animal behavior plays a crucial role as an indicator of animal health and nutritional status and serves as an indicator of animal growth. The objective of this study was to build an ethogram describing behavior in grazing cattle. We collected video and accelerometer data from crossbred steers (n = 10) used as part of a larger grazing study on the HH Leveck Animal Research Center, Mississippi State, MS. Daily Diary accelerometers (Wildbyte technologies, Swansea) were programmed to collect magnetometer and accelerometer data at 40 Hz and attached to the GPS collars fitted on the animals prior to their release into a 10-hectare pasture of Tall Fescue and Bermudagrass, overseeded with Annual Ryegrass. Automated camera traps (Bushnell Essential) were synced with UTC time and programmed to record 30-second video clips when triggered. Approximately 387,000 accelerometer signals representing 161 minutes of behavior from 10 animals were recorded, and behavior classified according to 1 of 5 categories: traveling, foraging, resting, ruminating, and grooming (Kilgour et al., 2012). Categorized accelerometer data was used to train a random forest model (Liaw and Weiner, 2002) in Program R (R Core Team, 2020), which resulted in a model sensitivity of 0.97, 0.93, 0.90, 0.87, and 0.80 for Traveling, Foraging, Resting, Ruminating, and Grooming, respectively, and an overall model accuracy of 0.95. Behaviors were aggregated into behavior bouts, and a daily ethogram was calculated for March 2019. This revealed that the steers spent the most amount of time traveling, an average of 1,026 minutes per day. This behavior was followed, in the average length of time, by foraging and resting for 205 52.8 minutes and 31.8 28.2 minutes per day, respectively. These results indicate the ability to accurately build a behavioral ethogram for grazing cattle and warrant further study in future research and livestock management.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Animal Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Catrett, C. C., Parsons, I. L., Dentinger, J. E., Norman, D. A., Webb, S. L., Stone, A. E., Street, G., & Karisch, B. B.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • October 2021