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Institute of

OF Organic Farming


Calf rearing with cow contact: natural, healthy and feasible

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© Thünen-Institut/Jacqueline Felix
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Calf rearing with cow contact: natural, healthy and feasible

For some years now, dairy farms have been successfully developing their very own procedures for cow-based rearing. Nevertheless, there are a number of open questions or problems for which no satisfactory solution has yet been found. This is where our practical project comes in:

Background and Objective

In the nationwide project, cow-calf contact systems are to be worked on as a welfare oriented form of husbandry. Farms that have been practising this method for a long time are to be supported scientifically in the further development of their system. At the same time, knowledge gaps about existing cow-calf contact systems in practice are to be closed.


In this joint project, we will address questions of animal welfare and the animal-human relationship, examine the effect of the weaning methods used on the animals and also take a closer look at labour management. On the one hand, the status quo will be surveyed, and on the other hand, approaches to solutions will be developed with the farms and their effects tested. The transfer of knowledge between the farms and interested colleagues and advisors is of particular importance.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Bioland Beratung GmbH
    (Mainz, Deutschland)
  • Hochschule Hannover
    (Hannover, Deutschland)

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)


12.2022 - 11.2025

More Information

Project funding number: 28N-2-051-02
Project status: ongoing


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    Rosenzweig M, Sigmund L, Barth K (2024) Kälbergesundheit in der kuhgebundenen Aufzucht - erste Ergebnisse einer Praxisstudie. In: Bruder V, Röder-Dreher U, Breuer L, Herzig C, Gattinger A (eds) Landwirtschaft und Ernährung - Transformation macht nur gemeinsam Sinn : 17. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau, 5.-8. März 2024, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen ; Tagungsband. 1. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main: FiBL Deutschland eV, pp 329-330, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.11204339

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