Aim of this research was to verify if the presence of external abscesses can be associated with behavioural changes and a general poor welfare condition in dairy goats, to support the possibility of using it as a welfare indicator for on-farm welfare assessment. In a group of 70 Saanen goats at the same lactation stage, reared on straw litter in a commercial intensive farm, we selected 8 goats with visible abscesses near the lymph glands under the skin (“A”=Abscesses) and 8 goats with no visible abscess (“H”=Healthy). All goats were fed ad libitum hay and concentrate during milking. Each group was observed directly (scan sampling every 2 minutes) for 3 days for 3 h/d (1 h in the morning, 1 h in the afternoon, 1 h in the evening). The main observed behaviours were: feeding, standing, lying, moving, self-grooming, ruminating. Behavioural data were expressed as percentage of scans. BCS (0-3) was recorded. Data were submitted to univariate ANOVA (SPSS v18). Most of the observed behaviours did not show significant differences between groups. Moving (“A”=4.2%±0.2, “H”=2.8%± 0.3) and ruminating (“A”=36.0%±3.6, “H”=25.0%±1.9) were significantly higher in “A” goats (p<0.05). Feeding was higher in “H” goats (“H”=50.2%±0.5, “A”=35.0%±3.5; p<0.01). In agreement with that, BCS was slightly higher in “H” goats (“H”=1.53±0.12, “A”=1.19±0.18; p=0.14); 25% of “A” goats showed a very poor body condition (BCS=0.5), possibly as a consequence of the lower time spent feeding. The reduced access to the feed trough possibly induced “A” goats to eat straw litter, and this may be the reason for the higher percentage of time dedicated to rumination. The results seem to confirm that the presence of abscesses can be considered a valid “animal based” indicator for on-farm welfare assessment.

Presence of abscesses as a welfare indicator in dairy goats : a preliminary study / V. Ferrante, M. Battini, C. Caslini, L. Grosso, E. Mantova, L. Noè, S. Barbieri, S. Mattiello - In: Quality of life in designed environments? / [a cura di] S. Waiblinger, C. Winckler, A. Gutmann. - The Netherlands : Wageningen Academic, 2012. - ISBN 9789086862047. - pp. 224-224 (( Intervento presentato al 46. convegno Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) tenutosi a Wien nel 2012 [10.3921/978-90-8686-758-5].

Presence of abscesses as a welfare indicator in dairy goats : a preliminary study

V. Ferrante;M. Battini;C. Caslini;L. Grosso;S. Barbieri;S. Mattiello
2012

Abstract

Aim of this research was to verify if the presence of external abscesses can be associated with behavioural changes and a general poor welfare condition in dairy goats, to support the possibility of using it as a welfare indicator for on-farm welfare assessment. In a group of 70 Saanen goats at the same lactation stage, reared on straw litter in a commercial intensive farm, we selected 8 goats with visible abscesses near the lymph glands under the skin (“A”=Abscesses) and 8 goats with no visible abscess (“H”=Healthy). All goats were fed ad libitum hay and concentrate during milking. Each group was observed directly (scan sampling every 2 minutes) for 3 days for 3 h/d (1 h in the morning, 1 h in the afternoon, 1 h in the evening). The main observed behaviours were: feeding, standing, lying, moving, self-grooming, ruminating. Behavioural data were expressed as percentage of scans. BCS (0-3) was recorded. Data were submitted to univariate ANOVA (SPSS v18). Most of the observed behaviours did not show significant differences between groups. Moving (“A”=4.2%±0.2, “H”=2.8%± 0.3) and ruminating (“A”=36.0%±3.6, “H”=25.0%±1.9) were significantly higher in “A” goats (p<0.05). Feeding was higher in “H” goats (“H”=50.2%±0.5, “A”=35.0%±3.5; p<0.01). In agreement with that, BCS was slightly higher in “H” goats (“H”=1.53±0.12, “A”=1.19±0.18; p=0.14); 25% of “A” goats showed a very poor body condition (BCS=0.5), possibly as a consequence of the lower time spent feeding. The reduced access to the feed trough possibly induced “A” goats to eat straw litter, and this may be the reason for the higher percentage of time dedicated to rumination. The results seem to confirm that the presence of abscesses can be considered a valid “animal based” indicator for on-farm welfare assessment.
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/223698
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