Completed research projects
Behavioural synchronization in farm animals
This study investigates the synchronization of behaviour in socially organized livestock species (horses, sheep). It aims to assess to what extent the emergence and degree of behavioural synchronization is influenced by social factors and varying management conditions (pasture, stable).
Water metabolism in sheep and goats:
Our study will evaluate water intake in German Blackhead Mutton sheep and Boer goats by the deuterium oxide dilution technique and direct water intake measurements under different management conditions (before and after shearing; water restriction regime). We also will record drinking behaviour in both species by using time-lapse video recordings for 24 h intervals. The availability of water in arid regions such as in the middle east is a crucial factor for animal production. The dry climate and the scarce water availability in these areas are causing a decrease in animal populations, also due to extended drought periods over 3 to 6 months annually that leed to shortages of food and water and subsequently animal sustainability. Therefore our experiment intends to establish water requirements in sheep and goats in relation to different environmental factors and management conditions.
Quantifying the milk transfer in llamas:
The aim of this study is to quantify the milk transfer from the lama (Lama glama) dam to her offspring (cria) in. Several methods are used simultaneously to validate the amount of milk transfered, such as behavioral indicators (suckling frequency and length), the "weigh-suckle-weigh" method and stable isotope techniques. Here we make use of the characteristics of the stable isotopes deuterium and 18O. Applied to the llama dam isotopes distribute evenly in the body water and are therefore trasnfered to the cria via milk. The quantity of the ingested milk can then be estimated knowing the concentration of isotopes in the crias blood.