Physiological and behavioral responses of goats to 12-hour road transportation, lairage and grazing periods, and the modulatory role of ascorbic acid

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Abstract

Changes in physiological and behavioral responses of goats to road transportation have been demonstrated, but effects of lairage and grazing on transported goats and the role of ascorbic acid (AA) on the effects have not been elucidated. The aims of the experiment were to investigate physiological, behavioral, lairage and grazing responses of goats transported by road and administered with AA. Experimental goats (n = 20) were administered with AA, whereas control goats (n = 20) were given sterile water before transportation by road for 12 hours. The goats were either grazed or held in lairage after the transportation. Excitability scores, grazing time, liveweight, and activities of serum enzymes were evaluated in goats that were grazed and those kept in lairage. The results obtained post-transportation showed that 12 hours of road transportation and lairage was stressful to the goats, and it decreased (P < 0.05) their excitability scores, grazing time, and liveweight. The activities of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and creatine phosphate kinase rose after the transportation, especially in the control goats, kept in lairage. Overall, the results showed that extensively raised goats, transported for 12 hours during the hot-dry season, require a lairage period of 7-11 days for their metabolism, behavior, and liveweights to return to baseline values. Goats that were allowed to graze after transportation required 3 days to return to baseline values, but those administered with AA before transportation and grazed after transportation required only 2 days to recover. The results demonstrated that keeping goats in the lairage after transportation was not beneficial. In conclusion, AA administration ameliorated stress because of transportation by road, and post-transportation grazing facilitated the recovery of the goats from the stress.

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