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Animals, Volume 9, Issue 7 (July 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Livestock herding dogs are indelibly linked to the Australian farming landscape. Yet information on [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems
Animals 2019, 9(7), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
In the 2000s, the idea of a so-called middle-segment arose in North-West Europe to address the criticism on intensive broiler production systems. Middle-segment systems being indoor housing of slower-growing broiler strains at a stocking density ≤38 kg/m2. Previous literature showed that [...] Read more.
In the 2000s, the idea of a so-called middle-segment arose in North-West Europe to address the criticism on intensive broiler production systems. Middle-segment systems being indoor housing of slower-growing broiler strains at a stocking density ≤38 kg/m2. Previous literature showed that Dutch middle-segment systems entail a relatively large gain in animal welfare at a relatively low increase in costs, i.e., have a high cost-efficiency. The question is to what extent these findings are applicable to other countries. Therefore, the aim of this study is to gain insight in the global prospects of middle-segment systems by exploring the cost-efficiency of these systems in other parts of the world. A set of representative countries, containing the Netherlands, United States and Brazil were selected. Cost-efficiency was defined as the ratio of the change in the level of animal welfare and the change in production costs. The level of animal welfare was measured by the Welfare Quality (WQ) index score. Data was collected from literature and consulting experts. Results show that in the Netherlands, United States and Brazil a change from conventional towards a middle-segment system improves animal welfare in a cost-efficient manner (the Netherlands 9.1, United States 24.2 and Brazil 12.1). Overall, it can be concluded that in general middle-segment production systems provide a considerable increase in animal welfare at a relatively small increase in production costs and therefore offer good prospects for a cost-efficient improvement of broiler welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Dietary Zinc Requirement for Broiler Breeder Hens of Chinese Yellow-Feathered Chicken
Animals 2019, 9(7), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070472
Received: 18 May 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
This study aimed to establish the optimal dietary zinc requirement of Chinese yellow-feathered Lingnan broiler breeders. A total of 576 breeder hens aged 58 weeks were randomly assigned to six treatments, each with 6 replicates of 16 birds (n = 96/treatment). The [...] Read more.
This study aimed to establish the optimal dietary zinc requirement of Chinese yellow-feathered Lingnan broiler breeders. A total of 576 breeder hens aged 58 weeks were randomly assigned to six treatments, each with 6 replicates of 16 birds (n = 96/treatment). The hens were fed either a basal diet (22.81 mg/kg Zn) or the same basal diet supplemented with additional 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 mg Zn/kg up to 65 weeks of age. Compared to the results of birds fed the basal diet (22.81 mg Zn/kg), the dietary supplementation with additional Zn (mg/kg) showed higher egg laying rate (at 48–120 mg), EM (at 96 mg/kg), yolk Zn content (at 24–120 mg/kg), fertility (at 48–120 mg/kg), hatchability (at 48–96 mg/kg), tibial breaking strength (at 24–48 mg/kg), tibial ash content (at 48 mg/kg), serum CuZnSOD activity (at 72 mg/kg) and T-AOC (at 48 mg/kg), and ovarian CuZnSOD and GSH-Px activities (at 96–120 mg/kg), and lower FCR (at 96 mg/kg). The regression model showed that the optimal supplemental Zn for maximal egg laying rate, yolk Zn content, fertility, and hatchability of Chinese yellow-feathered broiler breeders aged 58 to 65 weeks were 71.09, 92.34, 94.44 and 98.65 mg/kg diet, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle
An Economic Analysis of the Costs Associated with Pre-Weaning Management Strategies for Dairy Heifers
Animals 2019, 9(7), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070471
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 14 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
Dairy calves are raised in various housing and feeding environments on dairy farms around North America. The objective of this study was to develop a simulation model to calculate the cost of raising replacement dairy heifers using different inputs that reflect different management [...] Read more.
Dairy calves are raised in various housing and feeding environments on dairy farms around North America. The objective of this study was to develop a simulation model to calculate the cost of raising replacement dairy heifers using different inputs that reflect different management decisions and evaluate their influence on the total cost. In this simulation, 84 calves were modeled between 0–2 months of age to reflect a 1000 heifer herd. The decisions associated with housing, liquid diet source and allowance, labor utilization, and health were calculated. Costs and biological responses were reflective of published surveys, literature, and market conditions. A 10,000-iteration economic simulation was used for each management scenario using @Risk and PrecisionTree add-ons (Palisade Corporation, Ithaca, NY, USA) to account for variation in pre-weaning mortality rate, weaning age, and disease prevalence. As milk allotment increased, total feed cost increased. Feeding calves a higher allowance of milk resulted in a lower cost per kg of gain. Average feed cost percentage of the total cost was 46% (min, max: 33%, 59%) while labor, and fixed and variable cost represented 33% (20%, 45%), 9% (2%, 12%), and 12% (10%, 14%), respectively. Total pre-weaning costs ranged from $258.56 to $582.98 per calf across all management scenarios and milk allotments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calf and Heifer Feeding and management)
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Open AccessArticle
An Improved Single Shot Multibox Detector Method Applied in Body Condition Score for Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(7), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070470
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
Body condition scores (BCS) is an important parameter, which is in high correlation with the health status of a dairy cow, metabolic disorder and milk composition during the production period. To evaluate BCS, the traditional methods rely on veterinary experts or skilled staff [...] Read more.
Body condition scores (BCS) is an important parameter, which is in high correlation with the health status of a dairy cow, metabolic disorder and milk composition during the production period. To evaluate BCS, the traditional methods rely on veterinary experts or skilled staff to look at a cow and touch it. These methods have low efficiency especially on large-scale farms. Computer vision methods are widely used but there are some improvements to increase BCS accuracy. In this study, a low cost BCS evaluation method based on deep learning and machine vision is proposed. Firstly, the back-view images of the cows are captured by network cameras, resulting in 8972 images that constituted the sample data set. The camera is a common 2D camera, which is cheaper and easier to install compared with 3D cameras. Secondly, the key body parts such as tails, pins and rump in the images were labeled manually, the Sing Shot multi-box Detector (SSD) method was used to detect the tail and evaluate the BCS. Inspired by DenseNet and Inception-v4, a new SSD was introduced by changing the network connection method of the original SSD. Finally, the experiments show that the improved SSD method can achieve 98.46% classification accuracy and 89.63% location accuracy, and it has: (1) faster detection speed with 115 fps; (2) smaller model size with 23.1 MB compared to original SSD and YOLO-v3, these are significant advantages for reducing hardware costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Spatial Discount Task to Measure Impulsive Choices in Dogs
Animals 2019, 9(7), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070469
Received: 12 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 13 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
Impulsive choices reflect an individual’s tendency to prefer a smaller immediate reward over a larger delayed one. Here, we have developed a behavioural test which can be easily applied to assess impulsive choices in dogs. Dogs were trained to associate one of two [...] Read more.
Impulsive choices reflect an individual’s tendency to prefer a smaller immediate reward over a larger delayed one. Here, we have developed a behavioural test which can be easily applied to assess impulsive choices in dogs. Dogs were trained to associate one of two equidistant locations with a larger food amount when a smaller amount was presented in the other location, then the smaller amount was placed systematically closer to the dog. Choices of the smaller amount, as a function of distance, were considered a measure of the dog’s tendency to make impulsive choices. All dogs (N = 48) passed the learning phase and completed the entire assessment in under 1 h. Choice of the smaller food amount increased as this was placed closer to the dog. Choices were independent from food motivation, past training, and speed of learning the training phase; supporting the specificity of the procedure. Females showed a higher probability of making impulsive choices, in agreement with analogue sex differences found in human and rodent studies, and supporting the external validity of our assessment. Overall, the findings support the practical applicability and represent a first indication of the validity of this method, making it suitable for investigations into impulsivity in dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Mineral Nutritional Status of Yaks (Bos Grunniens) Grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
Animals 2019, 9(7), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070468
Received: 22 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
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Abstract
Minerals are essentially important for supporting livestock’s health, as well as productivity. This study aimed to investigate the mineral status of yaks (Bos grunniens) grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and the relationship between macro and micro mineral nutrients among soil, [...] Read more.
Minerals are essentially important for supporting livestock’s health, as well as productivity. This study aimed to investigate the mineral status of yaks (Bos grunniens) grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and the relationship between macro and micro mineral nutrients among soil, forages, and blood in four counties of the QTP. The soil samples (n = 320), forages (n = 320), and blood serum (n = 320) were collected from four randomly selected yak farms in each location during July (warm season) and December (cold season), and were analyzed for macro minerals (P, Ca, K, Mg, Na) and micro minerals (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Se). Based on this study, both of the macro and micro minerals were very variable between seasons and many of the macro and micro minerals, such as P, Mg, K, S, Na, Se, and Cu, were found to be below the requirement level for yaks in all four counties. It was significantly shown that the concentrations of both macro and micro minerals in soil and forages influenced the serum concentration of minerals, showing the deficient status of yaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Dietary Xylanase and Arabinofuranosidase Combination on the Growth Performance, Lipid Peroxidation, Blood Constituents, and Immune Response of Broilers Fed Low-Energy Diets
Animals 2019, 9(7), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070467
Received: 15 June 2019 / Revised: 10 July 2019 / Accepted: 14 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
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Abstract
The present study was conducted to examine that impact of dietary xylanase (Xyl) and arabinofuranosidase (Abf) supplementation on the performance, protein and fat digestibility, the lipid peroxidation, the plasma biochemical traits, and the immune response of broilers. A total of 480, un-sexed, and [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted to examine that impact of dietary xylanase (Xyl) and arabinofuranosidase (Abf) supplementation on the performance, protein and fat digestibility, the lipid peroxidation, the plasma biochemical traits, and the immune response of broilers. A total of 480, un-sexed, and one-day-old broilers (Ross 308) were randomly divided into three treatments with eight replicates, where chicks in the first treatment were fed basal diets and served as the control, chicks in the second treatment were fed diets formulated with reductions of 90 kcal/kg, and chicks in the third treatment were fed the same formulated diets used in the second group as well as the Xyl and Abf combination (Rovabio® Advance). Feed intake was decreased by the low energy diet, leading to an enhancement in feed efficiency enzyme supplementation in the low energy diet (p < 0.015). Both protein and fat digestibility were improved (p < 0.047) due to enzyme supplementation. Moreover, enzyme supplementation increased muscle total lipids content and decreased muscle thiobarbituric acid retroactive substance content. Furthermore, diets supplemented with Xyl and Abf exhibited an increase in antibody titers against the Newcastle disease virus (p < 0.026). In addition, enzyme supplementation increased gene expression related to growth and gene expression related to fatty acid synthesis. It could be concluded that dietary Xyl and Abf supplementation had beneficial impacts on growth, nutrient digestibility, lipid peroxidation, immune response, and gene expressions related to growth and fatty acid synthesis in broiler chickens fed low-energy diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Training on Stride Duration in a Cohort of Two-Year-Old and Three-Year-Old Thoroughbred Racehorses
Animals 2019, 9(7), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070466
Received: 21 June 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
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Abstract
Objective gait monitoring is increasingly accessible to trainers. A more comprehensive understanding of ‘normal’ gait adaptations is required. Forty two-year-old thoroughbred racehorses were recruited when entering training and followed for 22 months. Gait analysis was performed by equipping each horse with an inertial [...] Read more.
Objective gait monitoring is increasingly accessible to trainers. A more comprehensive understanding of ‘normal’ gait adaptations is required. Forty two-year-old thoroughbred racehorses were recruited when entering training and followed for 22 months. Gait analysis was performed by equipping each horse with an inertial measurement unit with inbuilt GPS (GPS-IMU) mounted on the dorsum. Horses were exercised as per their regular training regimen. Data were analysed using a linear mixed model. For two-year-old horses, there was a non-linear pattern of stride duration (SD) over time (p < 0.001) with SD decreasing initially and then ‘flattening off’ over time (linear and quadratic coefficients −0.29 ms/week and 0.006 ms/week2). Horses showed an increase in SD of 2.21 ms (p < 0.001) per 100 m galloped, and over time, SD decreased by 0.04 ms (p < 0.001) with each 100 m galloped per week. Three-year-old horses overall showed no change in SD over time (p = 0.52), but those that had a period of time off showed a decrease in SD of −0.59 ms per week (p = 0.02). They showed an increase in SD of 1.99 ms (p < 0.001) per 100 m galloped, and horses that had a period of time off showed an increase in stride duration of 1.05 ms per 100 m galloped (p = 0.01) compared to horses which did not have time off. Horses demonstrate an adaptation to high-speed exercise over time. SD decreases with training when other factors are controlled for in naïve horses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics of the Exercising Animals)
Open AccessArticle
Determination of Essential and Toxic Elements in Cattle Blood: Serum vs Plasma
Animals 2019, 9(7), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070465
Received: 5 June 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 19 July 2019 / Published: 21 July 2019
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Abstract
This study was designed to evaluate the influence of type of blood sample (serum or plasma) on essential and toxic element analysis in cattle. Paired plasma and serum samples (n = 20) were acid digested, and the concentrations of As, B, Ba, [...] Read more.
This study was designed to evaluate the influence of type of blood sample (serum or plasma) on essential and toxic element analysis in cattle. Paired plasma and serum samples (n = 20) were acid digested, and the concentrations of As, B, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mg, Mn. Mo, Ni, P, Pb, Sb, Se, Sr and Zn were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The study findings indicate that plasma and serum samples appear suitable and interchangeable for the determination of most of the essential and toxic elements in blood in cattle. The only exceptions are Cu and Se, the concentrations of which were significantly lower (40.9 and 29.9% respectively) in serum than in plasma. Some of the Cu in blood samples from bovine ruminants is known to be sequestered during clotting. However, further research on Se in ruminants and other animal species is warranted. Finally, the significantly higher Mn (9.9%) concentrations in serum than in plasma may have been caused by haemolysis of some samples. Special attention should be paid to preventing haemolysis of samples during collection and processing, in order to prevent overestimation of elements present at high concentrations inside erythrocytes (i.e., Fe, Mn and Zn). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feeding Cattle for Health Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle
Descriptive Texts in Dog Profiles Associated with Length of Stay Via an Online Rescue Network
Animals 2019, 9(7), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070464
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 12 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 20 July 2019
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Abstract
To increase the public’s awareness of animals needing homes, PetRescue, Australia’s largest online directory of animals in need of adoption, lists animals available from rescue and welfare shelters nationwide. The current study examined the descriptions accompanying online PetRescue profiles. The demographic data and [...] Read more.
To increase the public’s awareness of animals needing homes, PetRescue, Australia’s largest online directory of animals in need of adoption, lists animals available from rescue and welfare shelters nationwide. The current study examined the descriptions accompanying online PetRescue profiles. The demographic data and personality descriptors of 70,733 dogs were analysed for associations with LOS in shelters—with long stays being a potential proxy for low appeal. Univariable and multivariable general linear models of log-transformed LOS with personality adjectives and demographic variables were fitted and the predicted means back-transformed for presentation. Further analyses were conducted of a subset of the dataset for the four most common breeds (n = 20,198 dogs) to investigate if the influence of personality adjectives on the LOS differed by breed. The average LOS of dogs was 35.4 days (median 18 days) and was influenced by several adjectives. Across all breeds, the LOS was significantly shorter if the adjectives ‘make you proud’, ‘independent’, ‘lively’, ‘eager’ and ‘clever’ were included in the description. However, the LOS was longer if the terms ‘only dog’, ‘dominant’, ‘sensitive’ and ‘happy-go-lucky’ were included in the description. Some of the association of descriptors with relatively long LOS are difficult to explain. For example, it is unclear why the terms “obedient” and trainable” appear unappealing. The confidence adopters have in these terms and their ability to make the most of such dogs merits further exploration. As expected, the LOS differed in different breeds with the Labrador retrievers having the fastest adoption rate among the most common four breeds with an average LOS of 14.5 days. Breed had interactions with four personality adjectives (gentle, active, quiet and energetic) indicating that the adoption rate of dogs with these descriptors in their online PetRescue profiles differed by breed. This highlights an important knowledge gap, suggesting that potential adopters have differing expectations according to the breed being considered. Increased awareness of the breed-specific influence of personality adjectives on appeal to potential adopters, may enhance adoption success by allowing dogs with risk factors for low appeal to be promoted more intensively than high-appeal dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Open AccessReview
Diet-Induced Rabbit Models for the Study of Metabolic Syndrome
Animals 2019, 9(7), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070463
Received: 18 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 20 July 2019
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Abstract
Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) have become a growing problem for public health and clinical practice, given their increased prevalence due to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and excessive caloric intake from processed food rich in fat and sugar. There are several definitions [...] Read more.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) have become a growing problem for public health and clinical practice, given their increased prevalence due to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and excessive caloric intake from processed food rich in fat and sugar. There are several definitions of MetS, but most of them describe it as a cluster of cardiovascular and metabolic alterations such as abdominal obesity, reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, glucose intolerance, and hypertension. Diagnosis requires three out of these five criteria to be present. Despite the increasing prevalence of MetS, the understanding of its pathophysiology and relationship with disease is still limited. Indeed, the pathological consequences of MetS components have been reported individually, but investigations that have studied the effect of the combination of MeS components on organ pathological remodeling are almost nonexistent. On the other hand, animal models are a powerful tool in understanding the mechanisms that underlie pathological processes such as MetS. In the first part of the review, we will briefly overview the advantages, disadvantages and pathological manifestations of MetS in porcine, canine, rodent, and rabbit diet-induced experimental models. Then, we will focus on the different dietary regimes that have been used in rabbits to induce MetS by means of high-fat, cholesterol, sucrose or fructose-enriched diets and their effects on physiological systems and organ remodeling. Finally, we will discuss the use of dietary regimes in different transgenic strains and special rabbit breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disease and Immunology of Rabbits)
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Open AccessReview
Revisiting Oxidative Stress and the Use of Organic Selenium in Dairy Cow Nutrition
Animals 2019, 9(7), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070462
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 16 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
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Abstract
In commercial animals production, productive stress can negatively impact health status and subsequent productive and reproductive performance. A great body of evidence has demonstrated that as a consequence of productive stress, an overproduction of free radicals, disturbance of redox balance/signaling, and oxidative stress [...] Read more.
In commercial animals production, productive stress can negatively impact health status and subsequent productive and reproductive performance. A great body of evidence has demonstrated that as a consequence of productive stress, an overproduction of free radicals, disturbance of redox balance/signaling, and oxidative stress were observed. There is a range of antioxidants that can be supplied with animal feed to help build and maintain the antioxidant defense system of the body responsible for prevention of the damaging effects of free radicals and the toxic products of their metabolism. Among feed-derived antioxidants, selenium (Se) was shown to have a special place as an essential part of 25 selenoproteins identified in animals. There is a comprehensive body of research in monogastric species that clearly shows that Se bioavailability within the diet is very much dependent on the form of the element used. Organic Se, in the form of selenomethionine (SeMet), has been reported to be a much more effective Se source when compared with mineral forms such as sodium selenite or selenate. It has been proposed that one of the main advantages of organic Se in pig and poultry nutrition is the non-specific incorporation of SeMet into general body proteins, thus forming an endogenous Se reserve that can be utilized during periods of stress for additional synthesis of selenoproteins. Responses in ruminant species to supplementary Se tend to be much more variable than those reported in monogastric species, and much of this variability may be a consequence of the different fates of Se forms in the rumen following ingestion. It is likely that the reducing conditions found in the rumen are responsible for the markedly lower assimilation of inorganic forms of Se, thus predisposing selenite-fed animals to potential Se inadequacy that may in turn compromise animal health and production. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that organic Se has a number of benefits, particularly in dairy and beef animals; these include improved Se and antioxidant status and better Se transfer via the placenta, colostrum, and milk to the newborn. However, there is a paucity in the data concerning molecular mechanisms of SeMet assimilation, metabolism and selenoprotein synthesis regulation in ruminant animals, and as such, further investigation is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feeding Cattle for Health Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Graded Levels of Metabolizable Energy on Growth Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Slow-Growing Yellow-Feathered Male Chickens
Animals 2019, 9(7), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070461
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 6 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
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Abstract
A dose-response study was conducted to investigate the metabolizable energy (ME) requirement for Lingnan chickens from 9 to 15 weeks of age. One thousand two hundred 8-week-old slow-growing yellow-feathered male chickens were allotted to five dietary ME levels (2805, 2897, 2997, 3095 and [...] Read more.
A dose-response study was conducted to investigate the metabolizable energy (ME) requirement for Lingnan chickens from 9 to 15 weeks of age. One thousand two hundred 8-week-old slow-growing yellow-feathered male chickens were allotted to five dietary ME levels (2805, 2897, 2997, 3095 and 3236 kcal/kg). The results revealed that the daily metabolizable energy intake increased (p < 0.01), whereas the feed intake and feed:gain ratio decreased linearly (p < 0.01) with the increment in dietary ME level. The final body weight and daily gain of the highest ME treatment tended (p > 0.05) to be greater than those obtained with the lower ME levels. The fat content in breast muscle showed a quadratic response (p < 0.05) to the increase in dietary energy level. The shear force values of breast muscle in the 2897, 3095 and 3236 kcal/kg treatments were lower (p < 0.05) than those of the 2997 kcal/kg treatment. In conclusion, among the tested ME levels, 3095 kcal/kg was adequate for feed intake, shear force, and plasma uric acid, and 3236 kcal/kg tended to increase the body weight, body gain, and feed conversion ratio of Lingnan males between 9 and 15 weeks of age; further studies are still required for testing higher levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry Nutrition)
Open AccessReview
Factors Influencing the Popularity of Artificial Insemination of Mares in Europe
Animals 2019, 9(7), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070460
Received: 27 May 2019 / Revised: 10 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
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Abstract
The purpose of this review was to analyze factors affecting the popularity of artificial insemination of mares in Europe in the context of sperm quality. Taking into account the prices of stallion semen on the world market, efficiency is important for the profitability [...] Read more.
The purpose of this review was to analyze factors affecting the popularity of artificial insemination of mares in Europe in the context of sperm quality. Taking into account the prices of stallion semen on the world market, efficiency is important for the profitability of its use in artificial insemination programs in Europe. To increase the efficiency of a semen insemination facility, it is necessary to correctly and objectively assess the quality of semen. The available range of tools allows an effective evaluation of the potential fertility of a stallion. For several years, artificial insemination programs in Europe have been gaining popularity. However, the frequency of chilled or frozen semen use is still quite low. This is mainly due to the common, negative opinion about the effectiveness of the use of packaged insemination doses as opposed to natural insemination. Unfortunately, the quality of the semen offered often deviates from expectations, which results in unsatisfactory (and therefore unprofitable) pregnancy rates. This review presents the popularity structure of chilled and frozen semen use in European horse breeding as well as the current state of research on the effectiveness of semen production technology. It is shown that the popularity of using chilled semen in the artificial insemination of mares in Europe has been gradually increasing in the group of sport mares, while in the group of breeding mares, in recent years, frozen semen has been gaining popularity. In the remaining group of mares (not classified as sport or breeding), insemination with chilled semen has been dominant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology of Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Morphostructural Characterization of the Black Creole Goat Raised in Central Mexico, a Currently Threatened Zoogenetic Resource
Animals 2019, 9(7), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070459
Received: 24 June 2019 / Revised: 13 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
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Abstract
In order to evaluate the morphostructural variability of the Black Creole goat (BCG), the present study was carried out in a population of 226 animals from eight localities and 14 morphometric variables were taken. Descriptive statistics for the variables were obtained and 10 [...] Read more.
In order to evaluate the morphostructural variability of the Black Creole goat (BCG), the present study was carried out in a population of 226 animals from eight localities and 14 morphometric variables were taken. Descriptive statistics for the variables were obtained and 10 of these presented variation coefficients of less than 10%. The degree of harmony in the morphology of the population was determined by the number of positive correlations with significant differences (p < 0.05), including a correlation test using Spearman’s method. In order to reduce the matrix of variables, a principal components analysis was performed, and it was evaluated based on Kaiser’s criteria (eigenvalue > 1). Finally, a hierarchical analysis of conglomerates using Ward’s method was performed using the Euclidean distance to evaluate the distances among localities. Morphometric variables were also included to visualize the relationship among the localities and their average per variable. The results showed that the animals evaluated presented a certain degree of homogeneity and maintained a highly harmonic model. The BCG population showed a high aptitude for milk production, which confirmed the zootechnical purpose of the breed. The BCG populations evaluated maintain similar morphostructural profiles specific to them that can distinguish this population from other animal breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Tail Biting Events in Finisher Pigs from Automatically Recorded Sensor Data
Animals 2019, 9(7), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070458
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 9 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
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Abstract
Tail biting in pigs is an animal welfare problem, and tail biting should be prevented from developing into tail damage. One strategy could be to predict events of tail biting so that the farmer can make timely interventions in specific pens. In the [...] Read more.
Tail biting in pigs is an animal welfare problem, and tail biting should be prevented from developing into tail damage. One strategy could be to predict events of tail biting so that the farmer can make timely interventions in specific pens. In the current investigation, sensor data on water usage (water flow and activation frequency) and pen temperature (above solid and slatted floor) were included in the development of a prediction algorithm for tail biting. Steps in the development included modelling of data sources with dynamic linear models, optimisation and training of artificial neural networks and combining predictions of the single data sources with a Bayesian ensemble strategy. Lastly, the Bayesian ensemble combination was tested on a separate batch of finisher pigs in a real-life setting. The final prediction algorithm had an AUC > 0.80, and thus it does seem possible to predict events of tail biting from already available sensor data. However, around 30% of the no-event days were false alarms, and more event-specific predictors are needed. Thus, it was suggested that farmers could use the alarms to point out pens that need greater attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tail Biting in Pigs―Aetiology, Risk Factors and Solutions)
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Open AccessReview
Forage Consumption and Its Effects on the Performance of Growing Swine—Discussed in Relation to European Wild Boar (Sus scrofa L.) in Semi-Extensive Systems: A Review
Animals 2019, 9(7), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070457
Received: 24 May 2019 / Revised: 3 July 2019 / Accepted: 16 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
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Abstract
Due to its distinct properties, wild boar meat is considered a highly desirable consumer product, in a market that is expanding. Outdoor production is also favoured by consumers who value animal welfare and environmental sustainability when choosing meat products. There is evidence that [...] Read more.
Due to its distinct properties, wild boar meat is considered a highly desirable consumer product, in a market that is expanding. Outdoor production is also favoured by consumers who value animal welfare and environmental sustainability when choosing meat products. There is evidence that farms that include pasture for grazing typically have reduced feeding costs. Such production systems can also be more environmentally sustainable as the input (pasture) is inedible to humans, compared to conventional indoor systems, which use human-edible feeds (e.g., soya). However, some wild boar farms have performed poorly compared to those rearing other swine such as hybrid wild boar and domestic pigs. Diet is central to all livestock production and is likely a significant influencing factor of wild boar performance, both in terms of forage consumption and nutritional composition. Other factors may also influence performance, such as weather, behaviour and grazing management. Wild boar production systems hold their own intrinsic value in a growing marketplace. However, information gathered through the study of wild boar has external applications in informing outdoor domestic pig production systems to encourage the use of pasture as part of the habitat of domestic pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pig)
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Open AccessReview
Small Ruminants: Farmers’ Hope in a World Threatened by Water Scarcity
Animals 2019, 9(7), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070456
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
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Abstract
The availability and sustainability of suitable and good quality drinking water is a global concern. Such uncertainties threaten livestock production with an attendant ripple effect on food security. Small ruminants, including sheep and goats, appear to be promising to smallholder farmers in solving [...] Read more.
The availability and sustainability of suitable and good quality drinking water is a global concern. Such uncertainties threaten livestock production with an attendant ripple effect on food security. Small ruminants, including sheep and goats, appear to be promising to smallholder farmers in solving this problem because of their ability to survive in water-limited areas and harsh environment when compared with large ruminants. Their small body size is also seen as an advantage, because less water will be required for proper digestion and feed utilization. Therefore, this review will provide information regarding the adaptive responses of small ruminants on thermoregulation, blood metabolites, immune status, drug pharmacokinetics, reproduction and hormonal indices during the period of water stress. Adaptable and indigenous breeds are known to be more tolerant to water stress than selected breeds. A drop in feed intake and weight reduced respiratory rate and increased concentration of blood metabolites are the general effects and/or observations that are encountered by small ruminants during the period of water stress. The concept of water tolerance either as deprivation and/or restriction of indigenous and adaptable breeds of small ruminants is gaining ground in research studies around the world. However, more research, however, seeking to explore water tolerance capacity of adaptable breeds especially in arid and water limiting areas are still needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Music Festival Makes Hedgehogs Move: How Individuals Cope Behaviorally in Response to Human-Induced Stressors
Animals 2019, 9(7), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070455
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
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Abstract
Understanding the impact of human activities on wildlife behavior and fitness can improve their sustainability. In a pilot study, we wanted to identify behavioral responses to anthropogenic stress in an urban species during a semi-experimental field study. We equipped eight urban hedgehogs ( [...] Read more.
Understanding the impact of human activities on wildlife behavior and fitness can improve their sustainability. In a pilot study, we wanted to identify behavioral responses to anthropogenic stress in an urban species during a semi-experimental field study. We equipped eight urban hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus; four per sex) with bio-loggers to record their behavior before and during a mega music festival (2 × 19 days) in Treptower Park, Berlin. We used GPS (Global Positioning System) to monitor spatial behavior, VHF (Very High Frequency)-loggers to quantify daily nest utilization, and accelerometers to distinguish between different behaviors at a high resolution and to calculate daily disturbance (using Degrees of Functional Coupling). The hedgehogs showed clear behavioral differences between the pre-festival and festival phases. We found evidence supporting highly individual strategies, varying between spatial and temporal evasion of the disturbance. Averaging the responses of the individual animals or only examining one behavioral parameter masked these potentially different individual coping strategies. Using a meaningful combination of different minimal-invasive bio-logger types, we were able to show high inter-individual behavioral variance of urban hedgehogs in response to an anthropogenic disturbance, which might be a precondition to persist successfully in urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Maternal Care During Rearing in White Leghorn and Brown Nick Layer Hens on Cognition, Sociality and Fear
Animals 2019, 9(7), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070454
Received: 5 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
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Abstract
Both genetic background and maternal care can have a strong influence on cognitive and emotional development. To investigate these effects and their possible interaction, White Leghorn (LH) and Brown Nick (BN) chicks, two hybrid lines of layer hen commonly used commercially, were housed [...] Read more.
Both genetic background and maternal care can have a strong influence on cognitive and emotional development. To investigate these effects and their possible interaction, White Leghorn (LH) and Brown Nick (BN) chicks, two hybrid lines of layer hen commonly used commercially, were housed either with or without a mother hen in their first five weeks of life. From three weeks of age, the chicks were tested in a series of experiments to deduce the effects of breed and maternal care on their fear response, foraging and social motivation, and cognitive abilities. The LH were found to explore more and showed more attempts to reinstate social contact than BN. The BN were less active in all tests and less motivated than LH by social contact or by foraging opportunity. No hybrid differences were found in cognitive performance in the holeboard task. In general, the presence of a mother hen had unexpectedly little effect on behavior in both LH and BN chicks. It is hypothesized that hens from commercially used genetic backgrounds may have been inadvertently selected to be less responsive to maternal care than ancestral or non-commercial breeds. The consistent and strong behavioral differences between genetic strains highlights the importance of breed-specific welfare management processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Domestic Animal Behavior and Well-Being)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Sigurjónsdóttir, H.; Haraldsson, H. Significance of Group Composition for the Welfare of Pastured Horses. Animals 2019, 9, 14
Animals 2019, 9(7), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070453
Received: 12 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 17 July 2019
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to their paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fatty Acid Profile in Goat Milk from High- and Low-Input Conventional and Organic Systems
Animals 2019, 9(7), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070452
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 13 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 17 July 2019
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Abstract
According to the knowledge that the composition in fatty acids of milk is related to the production system, we determined the fatty acid composition of goat milk yielded in three different Italian farms. Two low-input system farms; one organic (LI-O) and one conventional [...] Read more.
According to the knowledge that the composition in fatty acids of milk is related to the production system, we determined the fatty acid composition of goat milk yielded in three different Italian farms. Two low-input system farms; one organic (LI-O) and one conventional (LI-C), and one high-input system conventional farm (HI-C) were involved in the study. Significant differences were detected among the different groups considering the fatty acid pattern of milk. Fatty acids (FA) strictly related to the rearing system, such as odd and branched chain fatty acids (OBCFA), linoleic acid (LA, 18:2 n6), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3 n3), elaidic acid (EA, 18:1 n9), total n6 and total n3 FA, were identified as the most significant factors in the characterization of samples coming from low- or high-input systems. OBCFA amounts were found to be higher (p < 0.05) in the LI-O milk (4.7%), followed by the LI-C milk (4.5%) and then by the HI-C milk (3.4%). The same trend was observed for Σn3 FAs, mainly represented by ALA (0.72%–0.81% in LI-O systems and 0.41% in HI-system), and the opposite for Σn6 FAs, principally represented by LA (2.0%–2.6% in LI-systems and 3.1% in HI-system). A significant (p < 0.01) discrimination among samples clusters coming from the different systems was allowed by the principal component analysis (PCA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Small Ruminant)
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Open AccessArticle
The Inclusion of Concentrate with Quebracho Is Advisable in Two Forage-Based Diets of Ewes According to the In Vitro Fermentation Parameters
Animals 2019, 9(7), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070451
Received: 22 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 7 July 2019 / Published: 17 July 2019
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Abstract
Ewes receive hay or graze on fresh pastures supplemented with concentrates to fulfil their lactation requirements. Quebracho (Schinopsis balansae) can be added to change the ruminal fermentation. Fermentation parameters of forages alone and 70:30 forage:concentrate diets with control and quebracho concentrate [...] Read more.
Ewes receive hay or graze on fresh pastures supplemented with concentrates to fulfil their lactation requirements. Quebracho (Schinopsis balansae) can be added to change the ruminal fermentation. Fermentation parameters of forages alone and 70:30 forage:concentrate diets with control and quebracho concentrate were compared after 24 h of in vitro incubation. Fresh forage diets produced less gas (p < 0.05) and had greater IVOMD (p < 0.001), ammonia (NH3-N) content, valeric acid, branched-chain volatile fatty acid proportions, and lower propionic acid proportion than the hay diets (p < 0.01). In the hay diets, methane production increased with control concentrate (p < 0.01) and tended to decrease with quebacho concentrate (p < 0.10). The inclusion of both concentrates increased the acetic:propionic ratio (p < 0.01), and only the inclusion of quebracho concentrate increased the IVOMD (p < 0.01). In the fresh forage diets, gas and methane production increased with the inclusion of the control concentrate (p < 0.05), but methane production decreased with quebracho concentrate (p < 0.01). The inclusion of quebracho concentrate reduced the NH3-N content and valeric acid proportion (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the inclusion of quebracho concentrate would be advisable to reduce the CH4 production and NH3-N content in fresh forage diets and to increase the IVOMD in hay diets in comparison with the forages alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of the Ovine Keratin-Associated Protein 21-1 Gene and Its Association with Variation in Wool Traits
Animals 2019, 9(7), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070450
Received: 27 May 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are key constituents of wool and hair fibers. In this study, an ovine KAP gene encoding a HGT-KAP protein was identified. The gene was different from all of the HGT-KAP genes identified in sheep, but was closely related to the [...] Read more.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are key constituents of wool and hair fibers. In this study, an ovine KAP gene encoding a HGT-KAP protein was identified. The gene was different from all of the HGT-KAP genes identified in sheep, but was closely related to the human KAP21-1 gene, suggesting that it represented the unidentified ovine KRTAP21-1. Four variants (named A to D) of ovine KRTAP21-1 were found in 360 Merino × Southdown-cross lambs from four sire lines. Three sequence variations were detected among these variants. Two of the sequence variations were located upstream of the coding region and the remaining one was a synonymous variation in the coding sequence. Six genotypes were found in the Merino-cross lambs, with only two of the genotypes (AA and AC) occurring at a frequency of over 5%. Wool from sheep of genotype AA had a higher yield than that from AC sheep (p = 0.014), but tended to have a lower greasy fleece weight (GFW) than that of genotype AC (P = 0.078). This suggests that variation in KRTAP21-1 affects wool yield and the gene may have potential for use as a genetic maker for improving wool yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Quantitative Genetics in Livestock Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Are Tail and Ear Movements Indicators of Emotions in Tail-Docked Pigs in Response to Environmental Enrichment?
Animals 2019, 9(7), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070449
Received: 26 April 2019 / Revised: 4 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed that increased ear movements are linked to negative [...] Read more.
The inclusion of emotional indicators in farm monitoring methods can improve welfare assessments. Studies in controlled conditions have suggested that increased tail movement is an indicator of positive emotions in pigs, while others have proposed that increased ear movements are linked to negative emotions. This study aimed to investigate these indicators in pig farm conditions to analyze their validity and the effect of enrichment on welfare. Thirty-six pigs received one of the following enrichment materials: straw in a rack, wooden logs, or chains. Behavioral observations were performed by focal sampling. The results showed that tail movement duration was significantly higher when pigs exhibited “high use” (three or more pigs in a pen interacting with the enrichment) than when they exhibited “low use” (fewer than three) of enrichment (p = 0.04). A positive correlation was found between tail movement frequency and duration (r = 0.88; p = 0.02). The increase in tail movement could be considered an indicator of positive emotions in pigs when measured with other categories of indicators. Regarding ear movements, no significant difference was found. Future studies should further investigate these indicators thoroughly, as the results could be useful for improving the assessment of emotions in pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Enrichment of Pigs)
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Open AccessArticle
The Perceived Value of Behavioural Traits in Australian Livestock Herding Dogs Varies with the Operational Context
Animals 2019, 9(7), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070448
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 11 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
This study investigated the value that handlers and breeders assign to various behavioural traits in Australian livestock herding dogs. Data were obtained from 811 handlers and breeders through the ‘Australian Farm Dog Survey’. Respondents were asked to consider dogs within four contexts: utility [...] Read more.
This study investigated the value that handlers and breeders assign to various behavioural traits in Australian livestock herding dogs. Data were obtained from 811 handlers and breeders through the ‘Australian Farm Dog Survey’. Respondents were asked to consider dogs within four contexts: utility (livestock herding in both paddocks and yards), mustering (livestock herding in paddocks and along livestock routes), yards (in and around sheds, sale-yards and transport vehicles), and trial (specifically a standard 3-sheep trial), and to rate the value of 16 working manoeuvres (movement sequences used in herding), 11 working attributes (skills or attributes used in herding) and five general attributes (personality traits ascribed to an individual dog). The most valued working manoeuvres were cast, force and gather. Bite, bark and backing were considered of little value in certain contexts, notably the trial context. Across all four contexts, the general attributes most valued in dogs were being trainable, motivated, confident and friendly, while control and trainability were the working attribute traits considered to be of most value. Excitability was revealed to be a ‘Goldilocks’ trait in that respondents preferred not too much or too little but a ‘just right’ amount in their preferred dog. Analysis indicated a handler preference for either specialised dogs for the utility context or dogs who are easy to work with because of a broad range of traits favoured in the yard context. These results reveal both generalities across and the need for specialisation within these four herding contexts. Further investigation may help to reveal how well handlers distinguish between innate and learnt behaviours when selecting and training livestock herding dogs. Identifying which group handlers fit into optimally may assist in selecting suitable dog–human dyads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dog Behaviour, Physiology and Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Flexible Use of Urban Resources by the Yellow Mongoose Cynictis penicillata
Animals 2019, 9(7), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070447
Received: 20 June 2019 / Revised: 9 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
Several species are negatively impacted by urbanization, while others thrive in urban areas by exploiting anthropogenic habitats matching their pre-existing niche preferences, or by modifying their behavior for urban life. We studied the ecology of a recent urban resident, the yellow mongoose, in [...] Read more.
Several species are negatively impacted by urbanization, while others thrive in urban areas by exploiting anthropogenic habitats matching their pre-existing niche preferences, or by modifying their behavior for urban life. We studied the ecology of a recent urban resident, the yellow mongoose, in an urban ecological estate in South Africa. We assessed urban dwelling yellow mongooses’ diet, spatial and temporal occurrence, home range size, and whenever possible, compared our findings to the published literature on their non-urban conspecifics. Additionally, we evaluated occurrence overlap with residential gardens. Similar to their non-urban counterparts, scat analyses revealed that yellow mongooses in urban areas fed mainly on insects, particularly during spring/summer. In the colder months, anthropogenic items, small mammals and birds in scats increased. Camera trap surveys showed that the mongooses were common in open habitats, similar to previous studies, and exhibited a species-typical bimodal diurnal activity pattern. The occurrence of these mongooses was greater near human residences than at sites further away. Home range sizes were considerably smaller than those of non-urban mongoose. Mongoose occurred in residential gardens, more so during the colder months. The urban yellow mongooses’ diet, habitat preference and activity patterns were similar to non-urban conspecifics. Nonetheless, the exploitation of anthropogenic food sources, occurrence in residential gardens and smaller home range sizes showed that they respond flexibly to urbanization, and these modifications might aid in their success in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behaviour and Management of Urban Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
The Spatiotemporal Characteristics of 0–24-Goal Polo
Animals 2019, 9(7), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070446
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 10 July 2019 / Accepted: 15 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
Global positioning systems (GPS) have recently been shown to reliably quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics of Polo, with the physiological demands of Polo play at low- and high-goal levels also investigated. This study aims to describe the spatiotemporal demands of Polo across 0–24 goal [...] Read more.
Global positioning systems (GPS) have recently been shown to reliably quantify the spatiotemporal characteristics of Polo, with the physiological demands of Polo play at low- and high-goal levels also investigated. This study aims to describe the spatiotemporal demands of Polo across 0–24 goal levels. A player-worn GPS unit was used to quantify distance, speed and high-intensity activities performed. Data were divided into chukkas and five equine-based speed zones, grouped per cumulative player handicap and assessed using standardized mean differences. Average distance and speed per chukka increased in accordance with cumulative player handicap, with the magnitude of differences being trivial–large and trivial–very large, respectively. Differences between time spent in high-intensity speed zones (zones 4 and 5) show a linear increase in magnitude, when comparing 0 goal Polo to all other levels of play (Small–Very Large; 6–24 goals, respectively). High-intensity activities predominantly shared this trend, displaying trivial–large differences between levels. These findings highlight increased cardiovascular, anaerobic and speed based physiological demands on Polo ponies as playing level increases. Strategies such as high-intensity interval training, maximal speed work and aerobic conditioning may be warranted to facilitate this development and improve pony welfare and performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Horse as an Athlete: Sports Medicine, Rehabilitation and Wellness)
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Open AccessArticle
Cat Gets Its Tern: A Case Study of Predation on a Threatened Coastal Seabird
Animals 2019, 9(7), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070445
Received: 17 May 2019 / Revised: 26 June 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
Domestic cats have a cosmopolitan distribution, commonly residing in urban, suburban and peri-urban environments that are also critical for biodiversity conservation. This study describes the impact of a desexed, free-roaming cat on the behavior of a threatened coastal seabird, the Australian Fairy Tern, [...] Read more.
Domestic cats have a cosmopolitan distribution, commonly residing in urban, suburban and peri-urban environments that are also critical for biodiversity conservation. This study describes the impact of a desexed, free-roaming cat on the behavior of a threatened coastal seabird, the Australian Fairy Tern, Sternula nereis nereis, in Mandurah, south-western Australia. Wildlife cameras and direct observations of cat incursions into the tern colony at night, decapitated carcasses of adult terns, dead, injured or missing tern chicks, and cat tracks and scats around the colony provided strong evidence of cat predation, which led to an initial change in nesting behavior and, ultimately, colony abandonment and the reproductive failure of 111 nests. The death of six breeding terns from the population was a considerable loss for this threatened species and had the potential to limit population growth. This study highlights the significant negative impacts of free-roaming cats on wildlife and the need for monitoring and controlling cats at sites managed for species conservation. It also provides strong evidence against the practice of trap-neuter-release programs and demonstrates that desexed cats can continue to negatively impact wildlife post-release directly through predation, but also indirectly through fundamental changes in prey behavior and a reduction in parental care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions of Free-Roaming Cats and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Bovine TMEM95 p.Cys161X Mutation in 13 Chinese Indigenous Cattle Breeds
Animals 2019, 9(7), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070444
Received: 11 May 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 8 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
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Abstract
Chinese indigenous cattle breeds have abundant genetic resources, which are valuable for the molecular breeding of cattle around the world. Thus, identifying important candidate genes and their genetic markers is very important for cattle molecular breeding. A previous study found that a nonsense [...] Read more.
Chinese indigenous cattle breeds have abundant genetic resources, which are valuable for the molecular breeding of cattle around the world. Thus, identifying important candidate genes and their genetic markers is very important for cattle molecular breeding. A previous study found that a nonsense mutation (rs378652941, c.483C > A, p.Cys161X) in the bovine transmembrane protein 95 gene (TMEM95) seriously reduced the reproductive performance in bulls, but few studies have detected this mutation in Chinese indigenous cattle breeds. Since the mutation c.483C > A may serve as a potential genetic marker for selecting higher fertility bulls, in the present study, using tetra-primer amplification refractory mutation system PCR (T-ARMS-PCR), forced PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism (forced PCR-RFLP), and DNA sequencing methods, the mutation c.483C > A was detected in 765 individuals from 13 Chinese cattle breeds. However, the results showed that this mutation did not exist at this locus in our analyzed breeds. Interestingly, we identified a newly frameshift insertion/deletion (indel) mutation (NC_037346.1: g.27056998_27057000delCT) in the bovine TMEM95 gene in 11 cattle breeds, which changed the location of the termination codon and changed the 16 amino acids in the C-terminal to 21 amino acids. Combined with previous studies, our study provides evidence that in Chinese cattle breeds the mutation c.483C > A cannot be used as a genetic marker in molecular breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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