Improving animal welfare of goats in the stable and on the pasture
The animal well being of goats is on of the main goals in Organic husbandry. The stable and the pasture needs to fulfil the a) demands of the animals, b) makes the needs to make the work for the staff easy and c) does not harm the environment. This is not easy in practice.
High animal welfare in goat keeping is not usual, even not in organic farming. Goats have very often no access to pasture grazing in the summer, are kept in too small stables, without entertainment facilities for playing and climbing. The feeding and drinking facilities, the air quality and not enough ligth lead to stress. Even on pasture, if available, are goats not always happy: no shrub browsing, no climbing facilities, no shelter while bad weather conditions, diseases and injury risks are only some of the problems.
To minimize the injury risks, kids are already polled. These lambs have in milking systems only some days contact with the mother, are not always reared sufficiently and slaughtered in an early stage of age.
Goats are very productive not because but in spite of the keeping conditions. The mortality and morbidity rates are too high in goat keeping: in conventional and organic systems. this does even lead to low profitability.
The improvements of animal welfare in goat keeping is goal of the research of the Institute of Organic farming: on station as well as on farms. Not only the better-off of goats but also the better-off of profitability is target.
The improvement of animal welfare in goat keeping has been developed from 2001 till 2014 on the experimental station in Trenthorst. Already in this time concepts have been developed to implement the results on practical farms: on organic as well as on conventional farms. Since 2015 is this the main research target of the goat research of the the institute. Methods of knowledge transfer like "stable schools" of "online decision trees" are tested.
4.2001 - 12.2016
Project status: ongoing