Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA,ARS) instituted a research unit in 1992 to study behavior and well-being of food producing animals. The goals of the Unit are to 1) identify behavioral and physiological indicators of well-being and 2) investigate learning and cognition in food-producing animals. In order to achieve these goals, an ability to record and accurately analyze behavior is required. We have used the Noldus Observer 3.0 video system with excellent results. Some of the projects we use the Observer for include 1) Behavior changes occurring in group-housed dairy calves with and without environmental enrichment devices, 2) The effect of environment on development of re-directed behavior in piglets, 3) Behavioral indicators of stress in calves following castration, 4) A complete ethogram of stall-housed horses (utilizing the hand-held Psion computer) and 5) Post-natal behavior of lambs in a fetal alcohol syndrome model. These projects demonstrate the flexibility of the Observer 3.0 for use in large animal work and its usefulness in behavioral studies with domestic livestock.