Effects of housing environment on social isolation response,weaning stress, and immune reaction in goat kids


Abstract: This study investigated how environmental structuring in the growing units of goat kids influences their ability to cope with social isolation and weaning-induced stress. Two experimental groups were arranged in an enriched (E) or barren (B) environment and each of the two groups had 10 female and 10 male kids. During the social isolation, the goat kids in group E started bleating earlier (P = 0.1612) and more frequently (P = 0.0125). Goat kids also bleated earlier (P = 0.0005) and more often after the weaning period (P = 0.0006). Only the rearing behavior of the groups exhibited significant differences in social isolation. However, after the weaning, kids showed more bipedal stance behavior (P = 0.0204) and less running behavior (P = 0.0394) than before the weaning period. Cortisol, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) hormone concentrations were lower at weaning than in the other periods with social isolation (P < 0.05). The T3 hormone concentrations of the groups at weaning were significantly different (P = 0.0201). The immune response to Brucella vaccination did not differ between the groups (P = 0.2753). Findings revealed that both social isolation tests created stress in the goat kids. Considering the bleating frequencies, it can be concluded that the goat kids in the enriched environment experienced more social isolation stress than the goat kids in the barren environment.

Keywords: Environmental enrichment, bleating, rearing, bipedal stance, cortisol, thyroid hormones

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