Sydney Utzig

Sydney Utzig


Dr. Emily Miller-Cushon


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Animal Science




Social Director for the Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club

Academic Awards



Veterinary technician at St. Francis Pet Care

Research Interests

Animal behavior and welfare

Hobbies and Interests

Research Project

The effect of social contact during the preweaning phase on personality development and food neophobia in dairy calves

It is in their nature for cattle to develop and maintain close social bonds, yet individual housing of dairy calves remains mainstream in the dairy industry. Studies have shown that calves prefer social environments and develop important social bonds with other calves. In the opposite respect, calves raised without access to social contact are more reactive to novelty and experience reduced competitive success after grouping. The ability to cope with the stress of novel environments during development is further likely to impact longer-term welfare and production. The objective of this project is to evaluate the relationship between access to social companions during the preweaning phase, development of personality traits, and response to novel feeds. This study will provide crucial information about how experiences in early life impact dairy calf behavioral development, which may be applied to refine calf rearing practices.