Summary Of “Current State of Knowledge on the Cognitive Capacities of Goats and its Potential to Inform Species-Specific Enrichment”
Posted at h in Virtual Enrichment Journal Club 1 Comment
Authors: Gosia Zobel and Christina Nawroth
Goat cognition research has shown that:
- Goats are social, curious, and intelligent animals that are capable of learning and problem-solving.
- They possess a range of cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, perception, categorization, and social cognition.
- Goats have been shown to be able to discriminate between different colors, shapes, sizes, and quantities, and to understand causal relationships between objects.
- They can also recognize and remember individual conspecifics and differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar individuals.
- Goats are skilled at using their sense of smell and have been shown to use olfactory cues to make decisions.
- They have the ability to plan for the future and exhibit self-control, which is reflected in their food preferences and willingness to wait for a delayed reward.
- Goats have been shown to be able to communicate with humans and to understand human pointing gestures.
Based on the above, the authors suggest enrichment as follows:
- Opportunities for exploration and play: Goats are curious animals that enjoy exploring their environment and playing with objects. Providing them with opportunities for exploration and play can stimulate their cognitive abilities and reduce boredom and stress. Examples of enrichment items include ramps, tunnels, and platforms for climbing, as well as balls, ropes, and other objects for play.
- Social interaction with conspecifics: Goats are social animals that live in groups and form strong bonds with their herd-mates. Providing them with opportunities for social interaction can enhance their cognitive abilities and reduce stress and aggression. Examples of enrichment items include mirrors, brushes, and other objects that encourage social grooming and interaction.
- Access to elevated platforms and hiding places: Goats are skilled climbers and enjoy exploring elevated areas. Providing them with elevated platforms and hiding places can stimulate their natural behavior and reduce stress and boredom. Examples of enrichment items include elevated platforms, shelves, and boxes.
- Objects for manipulation and food-related tasks: Goats are skilled at manipulating objects with their mouths and enjoy using their problem-solving abilities to obtain food rewards. Providing them with objects for manipulation and food-related tasks can enhance their cognitive abilities and reduce stress and boredom. Examples of enrichment items include puzzle feeders, hanging feeders, and straw-filled toys.
Kristina CarterPosted at 15:51h, 04 April
What Goat Enrichment do you use in your facility? What are some of the constraints and how have you solved it?