Brain Training for Happy Goats

Learning could prove to be an important tool for ensuring the welfare of our goats.

Brain Training for Happy Goats
Add to Favorites Domestication has worked over the goat from its wild ancestor, the bezoar ibex, into the farmyard friend we know today. Selective breeding brings about obvious changes in size, conformation, and yield. Additional physical and behavioral changes accompany selection for any specific trait, and these are sometimes quite unexpected. For example, breeding for a calm and friendly temperament in silver foxes also resulted in floppier ears, curlier tails, and coat color changes. Similarly, breeding for productivity may result in behavior changes in goats. We may soon know how domestication has affected the goat mind. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Germany, and Agroscope, Switzerland, are starting a three-year project investigating and comparing the cognition and learning abilities of modern domestic and wild goats. As Prof. Birger Puppe, manager of the FBN Institute of Behavioral Physiology, explains, “Cognition tests are an important tool in the comparative study

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