Effects of Weaning and Spatial Enrichment on Behavior of Turkish Saanen Goat Kids


ASIAN-AUSTRALASIAN JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCES, vol.29, no.6, pp.879-886, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


As is in all economic activities, the highest yield per unit area is the main goal in animal production, while addressing the temperamental needs of animals often is ignored. Animal welfare is not only an ethical fact; it also has an economic value. Spatial environmental enrichment contributes positively to animal welfare by addressing their behavioral and mental requirements. The present study was conducted to determine the effects of weaning and spatial environmental arrangements on behaviors of goat-kids. Experimental groups were arranged in structured and unstructured spatial environments. Roughage feeder, semi-automatic concentrate feeder, bunk, bridge, and wood block were placed in the structured environment. No equipment was placed in the unstructured environment and paddock sides were enclosed with an iron sheet to prevent bipedal stance and to provide environmental isolation. In the study 10 male and 10 female Turkish Saanen goat kids were used in each group. Spatial environmental arrangements did not have significant impacts on the growth performance of kids (p>0.05). All objects in the structured group were accepted by the kids. Average use ratios of roughage feeder, semi-automatic concentrate feeder, bunk, bridge and wood block were observed as 19.3%, 14.0%, 12.6%, 3.8%, and 0.7%, respectively. There were significant differences between before- and after-weaning in use of all objects except for underneath bridge (p<0.05). Concentrate feed consumption, locomotion, and resting behaviors in kids showed significant differences by structural group and growth period. Roughage consumption was similar between groups, while it differed by growth period (p<0.05). Interaction frequency was significantly higher in structured group (p = 0.0023). Playing behavior significantly differentiated based on the growth period rather than on groups (p<0.05). Playing behavior significantly decreased after weaning. Abnormal oral activity was significantly higher in the structured group before weaning (p<0.05). Despite there being no installations facilitating climbing and bipedal stance, the kids of the unstructured group were able to exhibit 1/3 as much bipedal stance behavior as the kids of the structured group through leaning over slippery paddock wall or over their groupmates. Bipedal stance behavior of unstructured group was similar before and after weaning, while bipedal stance behavior before weaning was about 2 times that of after weaning in structured group. It was concluded that unstructured environmental arrangement limited the behavior repertoire of the goat kids.