‘Animals certain social behaviours can be limited

‘Animals should
be housed with a goal of maximizing species-specific behaviours and minimizing
stress-induced behaviours.’ (NRC (National Research Council), 1996). The
goat needs to be kept in conditions that are specific to its behaviour, social
grouping, life stage, housing requirements and feeding regime. It is essential
that caregivers fully understand the species they are caring for as in addition
to the five freedoms, they need to provide a care programme that is based on
the species needs and behaviour. Welfare is successful when the animal can perform
activities in an environment that most closely resembles their natural
environment and social groupings. Poor housing and lack of environmental
enrichment can lead to stereotypical behaviours, physiological distress and
illness.

As such, careful observations of behaviour can provide
us with a great deal of information about animals’ requirements, preferences
and dislikes, and internal states (Mench and Mason 1997). However, to interpret
these observations, an extensive knowledge is required of the species’ typical
behaviour patterns. These observations can then provide information about the
welfare of the animal.

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Studies of the species’ behaviour are not extensive. In the
article, The
Importance of Social Behaviour for Goat Welfare in Livestock Farming published
in The Small Ruminant Journal, it states ‘The domestic goat is
a sociable, inquisitive, and intelligent species, (…) Although it exhibits a
wide range of behaviours, the domesticated goat has been the subject of
relatively few behavioural studies’

‘In domestic
goats, the opportunity to express certain social behaviours can be limited by
captivity and management systems, especially in modern production systems,
where goats are reared intensively under high stocking densities, sexual
segregation, early separation of kids from their mothers, frequent regrouping,
and manipulation during critical periods, including gestation and weaning.’
This can
result in induce stress-related reactions.

The goats’ physiology requires that the goats’ behaviour,
age, size, and type should be considered. With
exception of breeding season, the sexes should be separated.

Goats are
very sociable and should not be isolated. If they must be isolated they should
have olfactory, vocal, and visual contact with their group members. Groups
should be kept constant as possible, and the introduction of new individuals
should be monitored closely, especially in the first twenty-four hours after
regrouping. Horned and hornless goats should be kept separate to reduce injury.

There
should be sufficient trough space to allow access to food by all individuals, to
reduce the amount of aggressive behaviour.

Recommendations
for stocking density suggest avoiding going below 1.5 m per adult goat
(Miranda-de la Lama and Mattiello, 2010) and preferably provide 1.75 m or more,
per adult goat (Toussaint, 1997).

 

Non-captive
goats are adaptable and can flourish in harsh environments. They often forage
by browsing and can feed from trees by standing on their hind legs or climbing.
These are normal foraging behaviours.

If space
is insufficient and browse restricted, goats may have to graze at soil level. This
combined with poor resistance to helminths may lead to worm infestation. Lack
of licensed treatments for goats makes management difficult.

 

Overgrown
hooves are persistent problem in captive goats and providing areas of hard,
abrasive flooring is essential to maintain healthy hooves.

Goats do
not have lanolin in their hair, so cannot tolerate wet conditions and need free
access to shelter.

Goats are ruminants and need long fibrous food for the
rumen to work efficiently. Articles relating to goat behaviour and ethograms
are limited but the articles used in this research are:

There are
various sampling methods used to perform observational studies of behaviour.

The
behavioural sampling method that was chosen was the continuous sampling method. This
method is for both observing for state and event behaviours. It’s the best way
to observe interactions and give an unbiased record of behaviour. The reason
for this was all activity that occurs is recorded while the goats are being
observed. This is an efficient sampling method when study the behaviour of two
or more individuals.

An alternative method would be scan sampling. In scan
sampling, the behavioural of all individuals in a group of animals can be
recorded at predetermined time intervals. States are recorded instead of
events. The advantage of this is behaviours are states, and can be observed
over a longer period of time.

Event behaviours are behaviour patterns of relatively
short duration, such as discreet body movements or vocalisations, which can be
approximated as points in time. These are small behaviours that happen during
this short time. State behaviours are relatively long duration, such as
prolonged activities, body postures, etc.