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1 March 2013 Thermoregulatory behavior of dairy goats at low temperatures and the use of outdoor yards
Knut Egil Bøe, Rebecca Ehrlenbruch
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Bøe, K. E. and Ehrlenbruch, R. 2013. Thermoregulatory behavior of dairy goats at low temperatures and the use of outdoor yards. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 93: 35-41. The aim of this experiment was to investigate the effect of roof cover and location of feed on thermoregulatory behavior and the goat's use of an outdoor yard under different weather conditions. A total of four groups of five pregnant dairy goats (20 goats in total) were allocated to a 4×4 Latin square experiment with four groups, four treatments and four experimental periods. Each treatment period lasted for 7 d. The goats were exposed to the following treatments: roof covering of outdoor yard (yes or no) and location of feed (indoors or in yard). The goats were video recorded for two 24-h periods at the end of each experimental period (totally 32, 24-h periods). When the air temperature dropped and when there was rain or snow, the goats spent less time in the outdoor yard (P<0.0001), but total lying time (P=0.47) and time spent feeding (P=0.77) were not affected by weather conditions. Lying in the outdoor yard was reduced as the air temperature decreased (P<0.001) and time spent standing/walking inside increased (P<0.001). Irrespective of weather conditions, the goats spent significantly more time in the outdoor yard in pens when the outdoor yards were covered with a roof (P <0.01), but time spent lying was not affected by roof cover (P=0.12) or feed location (P=0.40). We conclude that even if the outdoor yard was less used at decreasing temperatures, the time spent lying and feeding was not affected by inclement weather. Hence, a housing system with an inside resting area and an outside activity area provides adequate environmental protection for the goats even at low temperatures. A roof covering the outdoor yard had only a limited positive effect.

Knut Egil Bøe and Rebecca Ehrlenbruch "Thermoregulatory behavior of dairy goats at low temperatures and the use of outdoor yards," Canadian Journal of Animal Science 93(1), 35-41, (1 March 2013).
Received: 20 March 2012; Accepted: 1 September 2012; Published: 1 March 2013

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Chèvre laitière
comportement thermorégulateur
Dairy goat
enclos extérieur
outdoor yard
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