Posts Tagged ‘goat’

By Clare Wilson

“Maaah.” Goat calls might all sound the same to us, but the animals seem to recognise when one of their herd-mates is happy or sad from their bleats alone.

When goats hear a series of calls that change in emotional tone, they look towards the source of the sound – and their heart-rate readings indicate the animals’ own emotions are swayed by the noises.

Luigi Baciadonna of Queen Mary University of London and colleagues recorded goats bleating in different emotional states to see how they are affected by hearing each other’s calls.

To elicit positive sounds, they recorded goats that could see someone approaching with a bucket of food. To get negative ones they let an animal see another being fed while not getting any food themselves, or kept one in isolation for five minutes. “This was not extreme distress – I don’t think most people could tell the difference in their calls,” says Baciadonna.

Bleats with meaning
Then, to a different goat, the team played a bleat every 20 seconds, with nine positive ones followed by three negative or vice versa. At the start, the animal looked towards the source of the sound, but this tailed off as it got used to it. When the switch between emotional bleats happened, the goat was more likely to look again – but only with the second call of the batch of three. “There’s a bit of a delay in spotting the difference,” says Baciadonna.

The team also tried to see how the goats hearing the recordings felt, by measuring the variation in time between each heartbeat. In people, a high value for this is linked with more positive mood, while low values correlate with feeling depressed or stressed. Sure enough, when goats heard the happy bleats, their heart-rate variability was higher than when they heard the sad ones.

“I don’t doubt any of this,” says David Harwood, senior vice-president of the UK’s Goat Veterinary Society. “Goat owners are always telling us how intelligent their animals are.”

Journal reference: Frontiers in Zoology , DOI: 10.1186/s12983-019-0323-z

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2209218-goats-reveal-their-feelings-with-the-sound-of-distinctive-bleats/

The city is renting eight goats to graze on a city-owned golf course and another four at a wild landscape area. They will eat poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant species clogging the land, said Ryan Woods, a spokesman for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.

“Goats eat everything. It’s one of the natural things that they do, and they’re able to digest these things that are harmful to humans,” Woods said. Plus they’re cheaper and quieter than lawnmowers, he added __ and they drop natural fertilizer along the way.

The goats will be split into herds of four, each of which can clear up to a third of an acre per week. One herd will graze on a wild landscape in the Hyde Park neighborhood for four weeks starting on July 6. Afterward, they’ll join two other herds working at the George Wright Golf Course for six weeks starting on July 20.
The goal is to make overgrown areas more inviting to visitors, Woods said.

The goats will live at those sites until they finish their work, surrounded by solar-powered electric fences that keep them in and predators out. They’ll also be fed hay and water to supplement their diet.

Boston Hires Goat Crew To Landscape Weed-Choked City Land

Thanks to Pete Cuomo for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.