Acta Vet. Brno 2022, 91: 333-337

Factors influencing the welfare of dairy goats

Tereza Popelková, Michaela Němečková, Zuzana Tšponová, Vladimíra Pištěková

University of Veterinary Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Protection and Welfare and Veterinary Public Health, Brno, Czech Republic

Received February 2, 2022
Accepted October 10, 2022

A variety of stressful situations commonly occur on dairy farms which can impair the well-being of the animals. The aim of this study was to analyse the concentration of cortisol in the saliva of dairy goats and on the basis thereof to determine the degree of stress experienced by them in relation to selected situations on farms. The following situations were selected as stressful: first visit to the milking parlour; weaning off; loading and transport; deworming; and the disruption of social hierarchy. We examined 344 samples from 100 animals using cotton swabs for the saliva collection. Commercially available ELISA kits (Cortisol EIA Kit, BosterBio, California, USA) which can detect cortisol in the saliva of all animal species, were used for the analysis. During the first visit to the milking parlour, weaning off, deworming and disruption of social hierarchy there was a significant (P < 0.05) increase in cortisol concentrations compared to the basal values. For loading and transport there was a highly significant (P < 0.01) increase in cortisol concentrations compared to the basal values. Although these situations are inevitable on farms, efforts should be made to eliminate them as much as possible due to the stress the animals experience in them.


This study was financially supported by the Internal Grant Agency VETUNI Brno (project 202/2020/FVHE).


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