Animals2015, 5(1), 56-70; doi:10.3390/ani5010056 - published 19 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The introduction of the naked neck gene (Na) into modern meat type chicken is known to be helpful in increasing the tolerance for a high ambient temperature (AT) by reducing the feather coverage which allows for a higher level of heat dissipation compared to normally feathered (na/na) birds. In addition, reduced feather coverage could affect requirements for sulfur containing amino acids. As a prerequisite for further modeling of individual amino acid requirements, the daily N maintenance requirement (NMR) and the threshold value of daily N retention (NRmaxT) were determined. This was carried out using graded dietary protein supply and exponential modeling between N intake (NI) and N excretion (NEX) or N deposition (ND), respectively. Studies with homozygous (Na/Na) and heterozygous (Na/na) naked neck meat type chicken utilized 144 birds of average weight (50% of each genotype and sex) within two N balance experiments during both the starter (days 10–20) and the grower period (days 25–35). Birds were randomly allotted to five diets with graded dietary protein supply but constant protein quality. The observed estimates depending on genotype, sex and age varied for NMR and NRmaxT from 224 to 395 and 2881 to 4049 mg N/BWkg0.67/day, respectively.
Animals2015, 5(1), 43-55; doi:10.3390/ani5010043 - published 16 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The pet food industry continues to grow steadily as a result of new innovative products. Quality control and product development tests for pet foods are typically conducted through palatability testing with dogs and cats. Palatability is the measure of intake of a food that indicates acceptance or the measure of preference of one food over another. Pet food palatability is most commonly measured using a single-bowl or a two-bowl assay. While these tests answer some questions about the animals’ perception of the food, there are many limitations as well. This review addresses some of these limitations and indicates opportunities for future research.
Animals2015, 5(1), 27-40; doi:10.3390/ani5010027 - published 5 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loristardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective conservation surrogates especially in habitats where traditional flagship species have been extirpated.
Animals2015, 5(1), 13-26; doi:10.3390/ani5010013 - published 31 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The use of non-slip surfaces during loading and unloading of finishing pigs plays an important role in animal welfare and economics of the pork industry. Currently, the guidelines available only suggest the use of ramps with a slope below 20 degrees to load and unload pigs. However, the total time it takes to load and unload animals and slips, falls, and vocalizations are a welfare concern. Three ramp angles (0, 10 or 20 degrees), five bedding materials (nothing, sand, feed, wood shavings or wheat straw hay), two moistures (dry or wet bedding, >50% moisture) over two seasons (>23.9 °C summer, <23.9 °C winter) were assessed for slips/falls/vocalizations (n = 2400 pig observations) and analyzed with a scoring system. The use of bedding during summer or winter played a role in the total time it took to load and unload the ramp (p < 0.05). Bedding, bedding moisture, season, and slope significantly interacted to impact the total time to load and unload finishing pigs (p < 0.05). Heart rate and the total time it took to load and unload the ramp increased as the slope of the ramp increased (p < 0.05). Heart rates were higher during the summer than winter, and summer heart rates increased as the slope increased (p < 0.05). The current study suggests that several factors should be considered in combination to identify the appropriate bedding for the specific occasion.
Animals2015, 5(1), 1-12; doi:10.3390/ani5010001 - published 23 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There are no published studies that consider the experiences of guide dog puppy raisers. As these people are volunteers, their continued willingness to participate in the training of dogs for assisting the vision impaired and blind is essential for the viability of guide dog schools around the world. Using a qualitative, longitudinal methodology, data were collected from nine guide dog puppy raisers at four time points: before receiving the puppy, one week, then three months after the puppy arrived, and 13 months after the puppy arrived (at which time all puppies had left the raisers). Participants reported more challenges than benefits in raising the puppies. Volunteering to be a guide dog puppy raiser may not be the pleasant experience that is anticipated when community members first offer their services. Understanding what it is like to be a puppy raiser and working towards ways in which to address problems is essential, given that, without volunteers to train and care for puppies, vision impaired and blind people would not have access to guide dogs.