Ruminating and lying behavior of dairy goats in confinement or grazing

TitleRuminating and lying behavior of dairy goats in confinement or grazing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRibeiro, L, Ishii, S, Merkel, RC, LeShure, S, Gipson, TA
JournalJournal of Animal Science
IssueSupplement 3
AbstractBehavior is a key indicator of animal welfare and wellbeing. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of management system (confinement (C) or grazing (G)) on the behaviors of rumination time (RT) and lying/standing (L/S) in dairy goats. Forty Alpine goats (57.7±5.7 kg) in late lactation were randomly assigned to one of four groups. A replicated switchback design was used with Groups A and C the Confinement-Grazing-Confinement (CGC) sequence and Groups B and D the Grazing-Confinement-Grazing (GCG) sequence. Each group spent 1 wk in each management system. A 40% forage diet was offered free-choice in both systems, with some growing forage available for goats in G as well. Goats were fitted with two tri-axial accelerometers, one in an elastic, nose-band halter and the other attached to the hind leg. Data from tri-axial accelerometers were processed using SAS with prediction equations for RT and L/S. A mixed model analysis was conducted with RT or L/S as the dependent variable, and replicate (1, 2), sequence (CGC, GCG), management system (confinement, grazing), and interactions as independent variables, and animal as random. Rumination time and L/S were not affected (P>0.10) by sequence or replicate. Goats in G had greater (P<0.01) RT than those in C (12.7 vs 10.2 min/h; SEM=0.509). Regardless of management system, goats had lower RT in the second week than in the first or third week of the experiment (12.2, 10.2, and 11.9 min/h in wk 1, 2, and 3, respectively; SEM=0.574). Daily L/S behavior was not affected (P>0.10) by management. Lying time was 726 min/d in C and 699 min/d in G (SEM=16.7). Standing time was 714 min/d in C and 741 min/d in G (SEM=16.7). These results indicate that management system affects rumination time but not lying/standing behavior in dairy goats.