Social licking in adult cattle has many functions, it helps maintaining:
Literature review example: Social licking is defined as the act of one individual licking the body of another . This behavior is routinely observed at birth when the dam licks her offspring , at courtship when the male licks a female in estrus , but it also occurs in other contexts between animals of the same sex and age . A variety of functions for this behavior have been proposed. For example, recipients of social licking may benefit from improved coat hygiene . Some studies have also speculated that licking plays a role on the formation and maintenance of social bonds [4–6], maintenance of group cohesion [7,8] and reducing social tension associated with agonistic interactions [9–12]. Social licking is thought to occur more frequently between related animals [6,13,14] including animals that are closer in age . Proximity may be associated with a bond between animals [5,13,15–17], and individuals in physical proximity for other reasons may be more likely to engage in social licking. Comparing animals in different housing conditions that vary in space provided per animal, and analyzing individual relationships between animals engaged in social licking, may provide further insights on the role of this behavior in young cattle. The way in which animals are housed is also thought to influence the social interactions, including agonistic interactions . Indoor housing typically provides less space and more opportunities for cattle to compete for resources, such as lying stalls, feed and water. Previous work has shown that reducing space availability or increasing stocking density can increase competition for feed [11,19,20] and lying stalls . To date, with the exception of an unreplicated study , no work has assessed the effects of housing on social licking.
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