Donkeys display a peculiar social structure, dyad based, different from horses. In particular, scarce information is available on their early life after birth, which was hypothesized to represent the most important period in the development of the social behavior between the jenny and its foal. In the first 24 hours after birth, donkeys develop most of their sensorial, motor, and behavior abilities, typical of the “follower” species. Because this lack of knowledge contrasts with the increasing multifactorial interest for the donkey breeding, the present study was aimed to investigate the jenny-and-foal dyad behavior within 24 hours after birth, with the final purpose to provide the basis for a species-specific ethogram, in the Martina Franca endangered donkey breed. The observed behaviors were simplified in seven clusters to highlight the most representative categories. The most represented behavioral clusters observed during the nighttime and daytime in both jennies and foals were defined, according to the Pareto statistical analysis, “vital few.” The results represent a preliminary behavioral database about Martina Franca donkey breed jenny-and-foal dyad in the first 24 hours after delivery, useful for the future ethogram description and for deep investigations of behavior-related maternal or neonatal problems and for the prompt recognition of foals eligible for the Animal-Assisted Activity and Therapy.

Behavior of Martina Franca donkey breed jenny-and-foal dyad in the neonatal period

Andrea Mazzatenta;
2019

Abstract

Donkeys display a peculiar social structure, dyad based, different from horses. In particular, scarce information is available on their early life after birth, which was hypothesized to represent the most important period in the development of the social behavior between the jenny and its foal. In the first 24 hours after birth, donkeys develop most of their sensorial, motor, and behavior abilities, typical of the “follower” species. Because this lack of knowledge contrasts with the increasing multifactorial interest for the donkey breeding, the present study was aimed to investigate the jenny-and-foal dyad behavior within 24 hours after birth, with the final purpose to provide the basis for a species-specific ethogram, in the Martina Franca endangered donkey breed. The observed behaviors were simplified in seven clusters to highlight the most representative categories. The most represented behavioral clusters observed during the nighttime and daytime in both jennies and foals were defined, according to the Pareto statistical analysis, “vital few.” The results represent a preliminary behavioral database about Martina Franca donkey breed jenny-and-foal dyad in the first 24 hours after delivery, useful for the future ethogram description and for deep investigations of behavior-related maternal or neonatal problems and for the prompt recognition of foals eligible for the Animal-Assisted Activity and Therapy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/722979
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