Behavioural response of west African dwarf kids to repeated separation from their dams during the first week of lactation
Eighty West African Dwarf kids were tested to investigate their behavioural responses to a 9 hr daily separation from their respective dams on 3 consecutive days, and scored 1-5. A kid was scored 5 when it was very active and emitted high-pitched bleats, while a least score of 1 was given when the kid was inactive and emitted no bleat. The effects of sex, birth weight, type of birth, day of separation and time interval from separation were measured using the chi-square procedure. No differences (P> 0.05) were found in the behaviour of kids among all the 3 days of separation. A higher proportion (P<0.05) of kids, however, showed a higher level of disturbance on each of the 3 days of separation than control (when they were with their respective mothers). A higher proportion (92.5%; P<0.05) of the kids were less disturbed immediately after separation than mid-way through separation (47.5%) and just before arrival of their mothers. Similarly, large proportion (47.5%) were less disturbed mid-way through separation than just before the arrival of their mothers. The proportion of undisturbed kids immediately after separation was similar (P> 0.05) to control, but higher (P<0.05) than all separation intervals. A high proportion (P < 0.05) of kids had scores 4 and 5 midway through the separation period and just before arrival of their mothers than immediately after the separation period. Kids were generally stressed by the separation process, and the level of disturbance increased with increasing period of separation within the day, and must be avoided.
Keywords: kids, behaviour, vocalization, disturbance, isolation