The evaluation of goat welfare in extensive farming systems can be particularly challenging due to adverse conditions during the assessment and the relative lack of validated measures compared to those developed for intensive systems. Following a previous study conducted in semi-extensive condition, we recorded 16 welfare indicators (seven group indicators at pasture and nine individual indicators during milking) in six herds of dairy goats (Alpine and Valdostana breed) in extensive conditions during alpine summer grazing. Inter-observer reliability among three assessors was also checked. The welfare of goats resulted acceptable with some exceptions. The prevalence of some indicators differed from the one registered in semi-extensive conditions. Unexpectedly most of the goats showed a normal body condition (90.8±2.45%). This could be explained by the fact that goats were in mid-late lactation stage and that no abrupt change of feed occurred when they were moved to the summer pasture, as they had daily access outdoor in spring. However, faecal soiling was higher than in semi-extensive conditions (only 85.6±5.72% of animals with no signs of diarrhoea), possibly because of the presence of fresh grass and high parasite load due to a very rainy season. Parasite infestation may also explain the low prevalence of goats with normal hair coat conditions (45.8±2.43%). As in semi-extensive conditions, synchrony at resting was low (14.4±8.85%). The use of shelter in alpine summer range (35.2±8.75%) was lower than in semi-extensive conditions (95.1±4.86%), probably because of the insufficient availability of protected areas. The assessors reported many constraints in observing the animals at pasture (e.g. presence of woods, fog, need of binoculars for long distance observation): this explains why the reliability varied from poor for indicators collected at pasture to good for some indicators collected individually during milking.

Welfare assessment of dairy goats extensively reared in mountain ranges / S. Mattiello, M. Renna, L. Battaglini, M. Battini (ANNUAL MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR ANIMAL PRODUCTION). - In: Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science[s.l] : EAAP, 2022 Sep 06. - ISBN 978-90-8686-385-3. - pp. 478-478 (( Intervento presentato al 73. convegno Annual Meeting tenutosi a Porto nel 2022.

Welfare assessment of dairy goats extensively reared in mountain ranges

S. Mattiello
Primo
;
M. Battini
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

The evaluation of goat welfare in extensive farming systems can be particularly challenging due to adverse conditions during the assessment and the relative lack of validated measures compared to those developed for intensive systems. Following a previous study conducted in semi-extensive condition, we recorded 16 welfare indicators (seven group indicators at pasture and nine individual indicators during milking) in six herds of dairy goats (Alpine and Valdostana breed) in extensive conditions during alpine summer grazing. Inter-observer reliability among three assessors was also checked. The welfare of goats resulted acceptable with some exceptions. The prevalence of some indicators differed from the one registered in semi-extensive conditions. Unexpectedly most of the goats showed a normal body condition (90.8±2.45%). This could be explained by the fact that goats were in mid-late lactation stage and that no abrupt change of feed occurred when they were moved to the summer pasture, as they had daily access outdoor in spring. However, faecal soiling was higher than in semi-extensive conditions (only 85.6±5.72% of animals with no signs of diarrhoea), possibly because of the presence of fresh grass and high parasite load due to a very rainy season. Parasite infestation may also explain the low prevalence of goats with normal hair coat conditions (45.8±2.43%). As in semi-extensive conditions, synchrony at resting was low (14.4±8.85%). The use of shelter in alpine summer range (35.2±8.75%) was lower than in semi-extensive conditions (95.1±4.86%), probably because of the insufficient availability of protected areas. The assessors reported many constraints in observing the animals at pasture (e.g. presence of woods, fog, need of binoculars for long distance observation): this explains why the reliability varied from poor for indicators collected at pasture to good for some indicators collected individually during milking.
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
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