Quiz 22: Animal Behavior


Livestock intentional management should be very thoughtful and require the heart, head and eye of stockman to handle effectively. The live stock production has been developed over the ages and stockman has collected knowledge about best ways to provide care, handle, restrain, transport and harvest of the animals. Animal behavior must be known thoroughly by a livestock manager to handle efficiently to provide economic benefits for all labor to the master and the crafts man. The eye of the livestock would be the master, the craft man becomes a hand and shepherd is the heard in livestock care and handling.

Conditioning is a process in which the animal establishes an association between previously neutral stimuli, for example, a bell or exhibits behavioral response by lifting its foot. The previously significant stimulus includes shock or food. Conditioning is of two types called classical and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is explained by Pavlov's study that had shown an association between unconditioned stimulus and neutral stimulus. For example, the sight of food causing salivation is an unconditioned stimulus while the sound of a bell is a neutral stimulus. The animal salivated by seeing the food later the sound of bell produced salivation because of previous association between the two stimuli. Operant conditioning is learning in response to a particular way to a stimulus due to reinforcement of proper response. Reinforcement may be a punishment or reward for producing proper response. Animals avoiding the electric fence and cattle reaching the feed bunk when they look at feed truck are examples of operant conditioning. Animals avoid electric fence because they are negatively reinforced by shock. The cattle reach the feed bunk after looking at feed truck because of positive reinforcement.

Trial and error behavior is exhibited by trying different responses to a stimulus till the correct response is resulted to receive a reward. For example, a new born mammal become hungry and wants to get nursed very soon. So they search for some place to get nursed throughout the mother's body till they find the teat. This is a trial behavior and error takes place until the teat is found, then the young animal gets nursed and received the milk as reward. Due to trial and error behavior, the young born learns the location of teat find it easily next time without trial and error. Therefore young exhibit conditioning in nursing behavior through reinforcement. Imprinting includes the processes where the helpless young are bond to their caretaker (dam). The way of imprinting varies among species. The odors and the dam licking the fluids of new born causes bonding and rapid recognition in cattle and sheep and creating a nest forms bonding of sow with her young pigs.

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