Kannan, G., Batchu, P., Naldurtiker, A. et al. 2023. Habituation to livestock trailer and its influence on stress responses during transportation in goats. Animals 13(7), 1191.

This experiment was conducted to determine the effects of habituation to livestock trailers on stress responses in goats transported for long periods. Intact male Spanish goats (12-month old; BW = 31.6 ± 0.34 kg; N = 168) were separated into two treatment (TRT) groups and maintained on two different paddocks. Concentrate supplement was fed to one group inside two livestock trailers (5.0 × 2.3 m each; habituated group, H), while the other group received the concentrate supplement, but not inside the trailers (non-habituated, NH). After 4 weeks of habituation period, goats were subjected to a 10-h transportation stress in four replicates (n = 21 goats/replicate/TRT). Blood samples were collected by a trained individual by jugular venipuncture into vacutainer tubes before loading (Preload), 20 min after loading (0 h), and at 2-h intervals thereafter (Time) for analysis of stress responses. There was a tendency for a TRT effect (p < 0.1) on tyramine and metanephrine concentrations. Phenylethylamine and 5-methoxytryptamine concentrations were significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the H group compared to the NH group. Both dopamine and 5-methoxytryptamine concentrations decreased (p < 0.05) with transportation time; however, TRT × Time interaction effects were not significant. Habituation to trailers may be beneficial in mood and energy stabilization in goats during long-distance transportation.

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