Bonding of Spanish kid goats to cattle and sheep

TitleBonding of Spanish kid goats to cattle and sheep
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsHulet CV, Anderson D.M., Smith J.N, Shupe, W. Larry, Murray L.W.
JournalApplied Animal Behavior Science
Date Published1991

Spanish kid goats, white-face range lambs, and yearling beef heifers were used to study the effects of close interspecies confinement on bonding of the small ruminant species to each other or to cattle. Treatment groups consisted of (1) 3 Spanish kids, 3 heifers and 3 young lambs (43–53 days with no previous exposure to cattle); (2) 3 Spanish kids, 2 heifers and 3 older lambs (74–105 days with some previous exposure to cattle). Each of these treatments was replicated three times. During field testing, following 30 days pen confinement, the older lambs stayed closer (P<0.05) to the heifers than did the younger lambs. However, no difference (P>0.05) existed between young and old lambs following 60 days pen confinement. Spanish kids did not differ (P>0.05) in the degree of bonding from lambs. After testing at 60-days, the groups originally confined together were re-combined and sorted into kid-heifer and lamb-heifer groups and tested at pasture for affinity of kid goats to heifers and lambs to heifers, independent of the other small ruminant species. Lambs separated from cattle during the 3-h test; whereas kid goats consistently stayed with cattle. In an extended field test, kid goats stayed with cattle over a 5-consecutive-day test with no observed separations. It was concluded that Spanish kids can bond to cattle and stay with them under free-ranging conditions. The data also suggest that with lambs, a bond may become stronger as the time of close association is extended beyond 30 days.