Dwarf goats (Capra hircus) have been bred at the FBN since 1993. Founder animals came from different zoological gardens in Germany. Throughout the year we have mean live stock of 150 animals (80 goats, 20 rams, 50 lambs). Lambing season is twice a year in February and August. Lambs were weaned form mother after 6 weeks. Afterwards, they were autoshaped to a specific learning device over a period of 8 weeks. They were conditioned to press different buttons to get a small portion for water or food. Daily food or water consumption is controlled daily in this phase.
To study various aspects of visual discrimination learning in dwarf goats, we apply an approach of individual self controlled learning in normal social setting. In a long term project we investigate how goats learn to discriminate simple and complex shapes and how flexible their learning behaviour and memory is. We want to test the influence of external (e.g. management practices) and internal (e.g. dominance status) factors on learning. Moreover, we are interested in the level of stress related to learning and learning success.
Link to: Learning behaviour of Dwarf goats