The present study investigates the feasibility in goats of an avoidance distance (AD) behaviour test set-up for cattle, and compares the results in the two species to assess the suitability of the test for on-farm welfare evaluation in goat farms. The tests were performed on 324 lactating cows (170 in small farms and 154 in large farms) and 271 lactating goats (108 in small farms and 163 in large farms), housed in free stall farms (12 dairy cattle and 17 dairy goat farms) in the Province of Sondrio, Northern Italy, following a protocol validated for dairy cows in the Welfare Quality® project. After the assessors were adequately trained, this test was relatively easy to perform and no major difficulties were faced in either species. Goats exhibited a higher level of confidence with humans, as showed by lower AD (goats: 68.60 ± 4.98 cm; cows: 71.36 ± 4.37 cm; p < 0.10) and higher frequency of contacts (AD = 0) (goats: 45.8%; cows: 31.2%; p < 0.001). Farm size significantly affected AD values (lower in small farms) and frequency of contacts (higher in small farms) in goats, but not in cows. This was probably due to the less marked management difference between large and small farms of cattle than those of goats. The AD test seems feasible in goats; however, the experimenter contacted nearly half of the goats. To improve the sensitivity, a further level - represented by the possibility of gently stroking the goat's head after the contact - may be included in the test in addition to contact.

Avoidance distance test in goats: a comparison with its application in cows / S. Mattiello, M. Battini, E. Andreoli, M. Minero, S. Barbieri, E. Canali. - In: SMALL RUMINANT RESEARCH. - ISSN 0921-4488. - 91:2-3(2010), pp. 215-218. [10.1016/j.smallrumres.2010.03.002]

Avoidance distance test in goats: a comparison with its application in cows

S. Mattiello
;
M. Battini
Secondo
;
E. Andreoli;M. Minero;S. Barbieri
Penultimo
;
E. Canali
Ultimo
2010

Abstract

The present study investigates the feasibility in goats of an avoidance distance (AD) behaviour test set-up for cattle, and compares the results in the two species to assess the suitability of the test for on-farm welfare evaluation in goat farms. The tests were performed on 324 lactating cows (170 in small farms and 154 in large farms) and 271 lactating goats (108 in small farms and 163 in large farms), housed in free stall farms (12 dairy cattle and 17 dairy goat farms) in the Province of Sondrio, Northern Italy, following a protocol validated for dairy cows in the Welfare Quality® project. After the assessors were adequately trained, this test was relatively easy to perform and no major difficulties were faced in either species. Goats exhibited a higher level of confidence with humans, as showed by lower AD (goats: 68.60 ± 4.98 cm; cows: 71.36 ± 4.37 cm; p < 0.10) and higher frequency of contacts (AD = 0) (goats: 45.8%; cows: 31.2%; p < 0.001). Farm size significantly affected AD values (lower in small farms) and frequency of contacts (higher in small farms) in goats, but not in cows. This was probably due to the less marked management difference between large and small farms of cattle than those of goats. The AD test seems feasible in goats; however, the experimenter contacted nearly half of the goats. To improve the sensitivity, a further level - represented by the possibility of gently stroking the goat's head after the contact - may be included in the test in addition to contact.
Human-animal relationship; Dairy cattle; Goats; Welfare; Behaviour
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/437287
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