For long, human beings have dominated their influence on domesticated animals and their relationship varied with the duration and the relationship between them. This comes about when human and animals come into physical contacts interacting with each other and between them thus exists restraint and handling (Kisiel, 1975 pg 50). Active and passive interface are some of those factors that interfere with natural characteristics of domesticated animals.
All animals need to be more productive and their welfare must be assured of at all times. The reasons for studying animal are;
- So that we can design facilities that consider the needs of animals such as housing system, transport, provision for special operations like shearing, dipping etc
- To manage their grazing and pest control.
- To manage their transport without undue stress.
- To know the behaviors of pets and the bond between them and their masters.
Animal behaviors express an effort to adjust the response to stimuli. According to psychologists, the actions of animals are triggered by need for survival and reproduction. Behaviors evolve by natural selection and the knowledge and understanding has been of help especially to wild hunters, trappers, herdsmen and shepherds. Behavior is a chain of movements with a start, middle and an end. This study does involve what the animals do as well as when, why, where and how the behavior occurs. Social behaviors involve the buildup of relationships developed on regular patterns with one another around their environment. It is normally dynamic but finally results to a stable relationship and is helpful to study captive animal’s behaviors.
Once we understand the animals, we can be in a position to judge whether the manner in which we treat them is appropriate. Quit a number of ways have been developed to consider animal behavior. For us to understand these behaviors better we need to consider the pattern of behavior in this manner; what mechanism the animal uses to accomplish its behaviors, how the behaviors contribute to the animals continued existence and reproduction, the way in which the behavior develop in its life time and how such behavior developed.
This is a vital behavioral phenomenon that may cause troubles, especially in intensively housed animals. It is the trend for animals to come together in an activity, e.g. Feeding, meaning that this activity need ample space, which can cause struggle for resources, this may leads to crowding stress. It can also increase the amount of food being eaten (Calhoun, 1975 pg 83). In tending sows housed jointly, social facilitation can boost the number of suckling bouts undertaken by all sows.
Stress and its measurement
The term ‘stress’ means diverse things to different people, and so a great confusion arise. Different things such as heat, sorrow, cold, drugs and joy would incite the same biological effect. These agents are called stressors. In animal administration, stress is usually associated with effects due to weaning, transport or it can refer to behavioral stresses which are problems related with intensification. If an animal adapts the following behaviors, it is a clear indication that it has managed to cope with stress.
Behavior level: it is the first level of stress management, when the animal removes itself from stress, it avoids unpleasant stimulus. Though it’s difficult to take place at once to all animals, the dominant ones do manage.
Psychological level: the unsuccessful ones try to adapt by this process. If they fail to habituate to the aversive level they may become helpless and remain distressed and don’t respond appropriately to improve.
Physiological level: the animals which have not modified continue with arousal that generates general adaptive syndrome. At this stage, the animal develops strain characterized by susceptible to various infections. Otherwise the animal has failed to adapt that environment.
Behavioral profiles of domestic animals
Here we concentrate with the profile of animals such as cattle, pigs, goats, horses, sheep, and poultry. The aspects to be considered here are; vision and some special senses, sexual behavior and social organization.
- Horses- they can see clearly closer objects and a keen sight to distant objects. Their hearing is more accurate than that of human beings. Females are constantly associated with a male and the harem-males do much of the breeding. They are seasonally polyoestrous on their sexual behaviors and usually very aggressive at this time.
- Sheep- have a panoramic vision and they communicate properly with sight by maintaining eye-contact with each other when grazing. They usually graze in flocks and form strong social bonds. There is usually no relationship of dominance with mating behaviors. The most abnormal behaviors are maternal related as at times the ewe may wander away from the lamb when it comes closer to suckle.
- Cattle- eyes are positioned at the side of the head and have panoramic vision. The daily herd is organized in social hierarchy. Grazing takes much of their time about 8 hours a day. When the cow reaches oestrus the bull becomes extremely excited and follows her intimately, licking and smelling her external genitalia. The bull uses the tongue to transfer short incisive spurs before mating. Masturbation is common specifically on bulls with high protein diets. Suckling starts after 2-5 hours after birth. Maternal abnormality may be experienced especially when mothers have suffered birth hardship.