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Behaviour of crossbred does and their kids at parturition under extensive and intensive conditions

Abstract

Data from 82 kiddings from mixed-breed (native x dairy goats) goats reared on rangeland (n = 47) or confinement (n = 35) were used to determine the influence of various factors on length of labour, standing of newborn kids and time to first suckling in pluriparous goats. Both groups were mated at the same time to bucks of the same genotype in February. During the kidding time in July, the goats were monitored for 24 h in order to register parturition traits and kid birth weight and body measurements. For all goats, blood samples were collected at parturition in order to establish the nutritional state of goats. Grazing goats had lower body weight and body condition score (P < 0.01) than pen-fed goats, as well as lower values for some blood metabolites indicative of low body energy reserves. For both grazing and pen-fed goats, the majority of kiddings (>93%) occurred during daylight hours. No kiddings were registered from 2300 to 0500 hours. No effects of height at withers, thoracic circumference and sex of kids at birth were found to influence length of labour. Labour was shorter (P < 0.01) for pen-fed does than grazing goats (10.6 ± 1.18 min vs. 15.4 ± 1.2 min; mean ± SD). The length of parturition was considerably longer (P < 0.05) for twin-bearing does than for single-bearing does (16.6 ± 1.76 min vs. 11.2 ± 0.81 min, respectively). The interval between parturition and standing of kids was shorter (P < 0.05) for kids from litters weighing >3.3 kg (entire litter) than kids from litters with <3.3 kg (22.7 ± 1.82 min vs. 31.1 ± 2.76 min). Time to first suckling was longer (P < 0.05) for kids delivered from pen-fed does than kids from grazing does (57.8 ± 7.57 min vs. 42.9 ± 3.05 min). These results confirm that, independently of type of production system (intensive or extensive), kiddings of does are concentrated during daylight hours. These results also indicate that conformation of kids does not alter duration of labour, and that nutritional stress of goats during gestation (extensive conditions) does not interfere with the neonate’s level of alertness and arousal.

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Correspondence to Miguel Mellado.

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Mellado, M., Véliz, F.G., García, J.E. et al. Behaviour of crossbred does and their kids at parturition under extensive and intensive conditions. Trop Anim Health Prod 44, 389–394 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9932-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9932-z

Keywords

  • Kidding
  • Litter weight
  • Neonatal behaviour
  • Parturition
  • Suckling