Lying and standing behavior of a small herd of goats in a woodland pasture

TitleLying and standing behavior of a small herd of goats in a woodland pasture
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsGipson, TA, Clifford-Rathert, C
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume95 (Supplement 4)
Start Page329
AbstractLying and standing behavior is an excellent indicator of animal well-being. The objective of this study was to evaluate breed and temporal effects on lying (L) and standing (S) behavior in a small herd of goats. Nineteen goats (4 Boer, 5 Kiko, 5 Savannah, and 5 Spanish) were fitted with Icetags, which are 3-axis accelerometers that record percentage lying, standing, and active behavior every minute, and were released into one of three 0.5-ha wooded paddocks. Goats were assigned to the same paddocks each year. Icetags were deployed for 7 d during the late spring for three consecutive years (maximum=29°C, minimum=16°C for yr 1; maximum=24°C, minimum=13°C for yr 2; maximum=26°C, minimum=14°C for yr 3). Overall, average percentages were 56% lying, 34% standing, and 10% active per minute. Individual 1-min intervals (483,840 observations) were aggregated into hours (8,064 observations). Hours between 0600 and 2000 were coded as day and all other hours were coded as night. Mixed model methodology was used to evaluate the effects of breed (Boer, Kiko, Savannah, Spanish), year (1, 2, and 3), day (2 to 8), daytime (day or night), and all two-way interactions, with animal and paddock as random effects on behavior. For lying, standing, or active, all two-way interactions, except breed×day and except breed×daytime for active were highly significant (P<0.01). For lying, Spanish during night had the greater min/h (P<0.05) from Spanish during day, Kiko during day, Savannah during night, and Savannah during day (39.5 vs. 33.5, 29.3, 28.8, and 27.6 min/h, respectively; SEM=3.65). Kiko during night, Boer during night, Boer during day were intermediate and not different (P>0.10) than the other breed×daytime means (35.9, 34.8, and 33.7 min/h, respectively). Conversely for standing, Savannah during night had greater min/h (P<0.05) from Spanish during night (25.9 vs. 15.6 min/h; SEM=2.99). Savannah during day, Kiko during day, Boer during night, Boer during day, Spanish during day, and Kiko during night were intermediate and not different (P>0.10) than the other breed×daytime means (24.4, 23.1, 21.4, 20.4, 19.7, and 19.5 min/h, respectively). Goats were more active (P<0.01) during the day than at night (7.1 vs. 4.4 min/h; SEM=0.55). These results indicate that breed and time of day may affect the lying and standing behavior in goats and these differences in behavior should be taken into account when ascertaining wellbeing criteria.