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Effects of restraint with or without blinds at the feed barrier on feeding and agonistic behaviour in horned and hornless goats

By E. Hillmann, S. Hilfiker, N. M. Keil

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Abstract

The strict dominance hierarchy in goats bears the risk of low-ranking goats not getting adequate access to feed, especially for goats in small groups. The aim of our study was to test the effect of restraint in headlocks with and without blinds at the feed barrier on feeding and agonistic behaviour in horned and hornless goats. A total of 54 non-lactating dairy goats kept in 8 groups (4 horned, 4 hornless), was tested with 4 variants of the feed barrier (blinds yes/no, restraint in headlocks yes/no) in a 2*2-factorial design. Each variant was applied to each group for 5-6 weeks with an animal-to-feeding-place ratio of 1:1. Agonistic interactions and feeding behaviour were observed during the first hour after each of the two daily feed deliveries, and feeding behaviour was recorded additionally from 0:00 h to 5:00 h (night-time feeding). Data were analysed using generalised linear mixed-effects models separately for horned and hornless goats. In horned goats, feeding duration was longer when goats were restrained in headlocks during feeding than when they were unrestrained, and this effect was reinforced with blinds present ( restraining * blinds P=0.01). Only when restrained, low-ranking goats fed nearly as long as high-ranking goats ( restraining * rank index P

Date 2014
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 157
Pages 72-80
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.05.006
Author Address ETH Zurich, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Animal Behaviour, Health and Welfare Unit, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.edna-hillmann@ethz.ch
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Agonistic behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Body weight
  7. Bovidae
  8. Capra
  9. Cattle
  10. Effect
  11. Feeding
  12. Feeding behavior
  13. Goats
  14. Horns
  15. Interactions
  16. Mammals
  17. models
  18. restraint
  19. Ruminants
  20. ungulates
  21. vertebrates