The aim of the study was to evaluate the welfare of dairy goats of 32 farms located in Northwestern Italy, applying an on-farm assessment protocol, centered on animal-, resources- and management-based measures. The farms were classified as ‘intensive’ or ‘semi-intensive’ according to access to pasture. During each on-farm visit, a checklist was compiled, based on specific scores for housing and management conditions, and animals’ nutritional status, health, and behavior. Finally, the possible association between welfare measures and productive and reproductive traits was assessed. Overall, we observed an adequate level of animal wellbeing both in intensive and semi-intensive farming systems. This is possible thanks to the increased knowledge on goat breeding characteristics, and to the fact that veterinarians and farmers understood the importance of welfare protection to achieve a better health. Higher milk production was associated to some management practices (presence of the owner on the farm, high frequency of bedding change), and to seasonal breeding (which was mainly performed in the intensive farming). Moreover, it was associated to a quantity of urea in the milk comprised between 33 and 44 mg/dL. In intensive farms, the prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis was significantly higher compared to non-intensive farms. The semi-intensive breeding system positively influences the animals’ behavior.

The Assessment of Housing Conditions, Management, Animal-Based Measure of Dairy Goats’ Welfare and Its Association with Productive and Reproductive Traits

Tiezzi F;Tomassone L;Cornale P;Tarantola M.
2019

Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate the welfare of dairy goats of 32 farms located in Northwestern Italy, applying an on-farm assessment protocol, centered on animal-, resources- and management-based measures. The farms were classified as ‘intensive’ or ‘semi-intensive’ according to access to pasture. During each on-farm visit, a checklist was compiled, based on specific scores for housing and management conditions, and animals’ nutritional status, health, and behavior. Finally, the possible association between welfare measures and productive and reproductive traits was assessed. Overall, we observed an adequate level of animal wellbeing both in intensive and semi-intensive farming systems. This is possible thanks to the increased knowledge on goat breeding characteristics, and to the fact that veterinarians and farmers understood the importance of welfare protection to achieve a better health. Higher milk production was associated to some management practices (presence of the owner on the farm, high frequency of bedding change), and to seasonal breeding (which was mainly performed in the intensive farming). Moreover, it was associated to a quantity of urea in the milk comprised between 33 and 44 mg/dL. In intensive farms, the prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis was significantly higher compared to non-intensive farms. The semi-intensive breeding system positively influences the animals’ behavior.
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https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/11/893
Dairy goats; farming systems; welfare assessment; productive and reproductive traits
Tiezzi F, Tomassone L, Mancin G, Cornale P, Tarantola M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1725667
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