Gathering information on animal activity rhythms is important for setting up effective data collection schemes for welfare assessment. However, information on daily biorhythms of farmed goats is scarce. Few studies have been conducted on feral goats, but it is known that farm routines can influence rhythms and duration of different activities, both in indoor and outdoor farming systems. This study aimed to identify daily activity rhythms of dairy goats in extensive farming conditions (i.e., alpine summer grazing) to suggest reliable data collection flows for welfare assessment protocols. Resting, grazing, moving, and standing behaviour of goats from five flocks (mean flock size: 109.4±75.0; min-max: 40-220 goats) were recorded by direct observations using a scan and instantaneous sampling method (30 min/scan). Goats were observed approximately for 8 hours/day from their release outdoors (between 8.15 and 11.00, depending on farm) after the morning milking to the gathering (between 17.00 and 19.00, depending on farm) before the evening milking. A one-way ANOVA was performed to compare the percentage of time allocated by the animals to the different activities among the flocks. A GLM was performed to identify differences depending on time of the day and flock. On average, goats spent 11.8±24.5% of time resting, 35.5±26.2% grazing, 31.5±27.2% moving and 14.5±15.5% standing, but only resting was significantly different among flocks (p=0.001). A significant effect of the interaction flock*time of the day was observed for grazing (P=0.018) and moving (p=0.027). However, this effect could be due to the different time of release outdoor of the goats, which depended on the farm routine. When a new GLM was applied considering the effect of the interaction between the flock and time elapsed from the release outdoor (T0 min), no statistical differences were found, and all flocks showed similar behavioural rhythms, with two peaks of resting behaviour (at T240 min and T390-420 min), and one peak of grazing behaviour (at T180-210 min), suggesting that daily activities of dairy goats are strongly dependent on farm routine. This suggests that, when planning the best time for behavioural observations, the time from routine operations, rather than the time of the day, should be considered. However, further research is needed to confirm these trends in different environmental and climatic conditions.

Daily activity of dairy goats in extensive husbandry systems / M. Battini, M. Renna, L. Battaglini, S. Mattiello. ((Intervento presentato al 55. convegno Congress of the ISAE : Animal Behaviour and Beyond tenutosi a Ohrid : 4th – 8th September nel 2022.

Daily activity of dairy goats in extensive husbandry systems

M. Battini
Primo
;
S. Mattiello
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Gathering information on animal activity rhythms is important for setting up effective data collection schemes for welfare assessment. However, information on daily biorhythms of farmed goats is scarce. Few studies have been conducted on feral goats, but it is known that farm routines can influence rhythms and duration of different activities, both in indoor and outdoor farming systems. This study aimed to identify daily activity rhythms of dairy goats in extensive farming conditions (i.e., alpine summer grazing) to suggest reliable data collection flows for welfare assessment protocols. Resting, grazing, moving, and standing behaviour of goats from five flocks (mean flock size: 109.4±75.0; min-max: 40-220 goats) were recorded by direct observations using a scan and instantaneous sampling method (30 min/scan). Goats were observed approximately for 8 hours/day from their release outdoors (between 8.15 and 11.00, depending on farm) after the morning milking to the gathering (between 17.00 and 19.00, depending on farm) before the evening milking. A one-way ANOVA was performed to compare the percentage of time allocated by the animals to the different activities among the flocks. A GLM was performed to identify differences depending on time of the day and flock. On average, goats spent 11.8±24.5% of time resting, 35.5±26.2% grazing, 31.5±27.2% moving and 14.5±15.5% standing, but only resting was significantly different among flocks (p=0.001). A significant effect of the interaction flock*time of the day was observed for grazing (P=0.018) and moving (p=0.027). However, this effect could be due to the different time of release outdoor of the goats, which depended on the farm routine. When a new GLM was applied considering the effect of the interaction between the flock and time elapsed from the release outdoor (T0 min), no statistical differences were found, and all flocks showed similar behavioural rhythms, with two peaks of resting behaviour (at T240 min and T390-420 min), and one peak of grazing behaviour (at T180-210 min), suggesting that daily activities of dairy goats are strongly dependent on farm routine. This suggests that, when planning the best time for behavioural observations, the time from routine operations, rather than the time of the day, should be considered. However, further research is needed to confirm these trends in different environmental and climatic conditions.
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
The International Society for Applied Ethology
Daily activity of dairy goats in extensive husbandry systems / M. Battini, M. Renna, L. Battaglini, S. Mattiello. ((Intervento presentato al 55. convegno Congress of the ISAE : Animal Behaviour and Beyond tenutosi a Ohrid : 4th – 8th September nel 2022.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/938937
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