Changes in Ear Postures of Kid Goats in Response to Ear Tagging


  • Nizar J. Hussein Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Zakho, Duhok, Kurdistan Region
  • Hoger M. Hidayet Department of Pathology and Microbiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Duhok, Kurdistan Region



Ear Postures, Kid Goats, Pain, Ear Tagging, Welfare


No study yet is undertaken to measure pain caused by ear tagging in kid goats using ear postures. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to elucidate the effect of ear tagging procedure on pain in black Karadi kids using ear position and frequency of ear changes. Twenty black Karadi kids, aged 10-14 days, were used in this study. Ear postures were scored using focal sampling and recorded with instantaneous time sampling to measure the duration of each ear posture. Each kid was observed separately for 6 minutes before and 6 minutes after the ear tagging process with 30 seconds intervals. A total of 24 ear posture samples were recorded from each kid. Results revealed that Ear tagging significantly increased ears backward (P<0.01) and decreased ears plane (P<0.001). However, no significant effect of ear tagging was found on ears forward (P<0.19) and asymmetrical postures (P<0.43). In addition, number of ear posture changes was significantly (P<0.001) increased after ear tagging. It was concluded that observing ear postures of kids directly after painful husbandry procedures such as ear tagging is a reliable non-invasive method to assess pain caused by these painful methods and hence helps better understands animal welfare.


Download data is not yet available.


Alkass, J.E. & Juma, K.H. (2005). Small Ruminant breeds of Iraq, Pp: 63-101 In: Iniguez, L. (Ed.). Characterization of Small Ruminant Breeds in West Asia and North Africa. Vol. 1. West Asia. International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria: 462pp.

Boissy, A.; Aubert, A.; Désiré, L.; Greiveldinger, L.; Delval, E. & Veissier, I. (2011). Cognitive sciences to relate ear postures to emotions in sheep. Anim. Welfare, 20(1): 47-56.

Chan, H. L.; Lin, M. A.; Chao, P. K. & Lin, C. H. (2007). Correlates of the shift in heart rate variability with postures and walking by time–frequency analysis. Comput. Methods Programs Biomed., 86(2): 124-130.

Coulon, M., Deputte, B. L., Heyman, Y., & Baudoin, C. (2009). Individual recognition in domestic cattle (Bos taurus): evidence from 2D-images of heads from different breeds. PLoS One, 4(2): e4441.

Dalla Costa, E.; Minero, M.; Lebelt, D.; Stucke, D.; Canali, E. & Leach, M.C. (2014). Development of the Horse Grimace Scale (HGS) as a pain assessment tool in horses undergoing routine castration. PLoS ONE, 9(3): e92281. ne.0092281. (2016). Past3 Programme: /past/.

Guesgen, M.J.; Beausoleil, N.J.; Minot, E.O.; Stewart, M. & Stafford, K.J. (2014). Social context and other factors influence the behavioural expression of pain by lambs. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 159: 41-49.

Guesgen, M.J., Beausoleil, N.J., Minot, E.O., Stewart, M., Stafford, K.J., & Morel, P.C.H. (2016). Lambs show changes in ear posture when experiencing pain. Anim. Welfare, 25(2): 171-177.

Hempstead, M.N.; Waas, J.R.; Stewart, M.; Cave, V.M. & Sutherland, M.A. (2017). Behavioural response of dairy goat kids to cautery disbudding. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 194: 42-47.

Hempstead, M.N.; Waas, J.R.; Stewart, M., Cave; V.M. & Sutherland, M.A. (2018). Evaluation of alternatives to cautery disbudding of dairy goat kids using physiological measures of immediate and longer-term pain. J. Dairy Sci., 101(6): 5374-5387.

Hussein, N.J. (2015). Using infrared thermography, behavioural observations and salivary cortisol for assessment of pain caused by castration in lambs. M. Sc. Dissertation. Coll. Writtle, Univ. Essex., U.K.: 110pp.

Hussein, N.J. (2018). Using eye and nasal temperatures to measure positive emotions in free-range hamdani sheep. Basrah J. Agric. Sci., 31(2):24-30.

Keating, S.C.; Thomas, A.A.; Flecknell, P.A. & Leach, M.C. (2012). Evaluation of EMLA cream for preventing pain during tattooing of rabbits: changes in physiological, behavioural and facial expression responses. PloS ONE, 7(9): e44437. ne.0044437.

Kent, J.E.; Molony, V. & Graham, M.J. (2001). The effect of different bloodless castrators and different tail docking methods on the responses of lambs to the combined burdizzo rubber ring method of castration, Vet. J., 162(3): 250-254.

Leslie, E.; Hernández-Jover, M.; Newman, R. & Holyoake, P. (2010). Assessment of acute pain experienced by piglets from ear tagging, ear notching and intraperitoneal injectable transponders. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 127(3-4): 86-95.

Manteuffel, G. (2004). Positive emotions of animals: problems and chances of scientifically grounded welfare- improvement. KTBL SCHRIFT, 448: 9.

Matsumiya, L.C.; Sorge, R.E.; Sotocinal, S.G.; Tabaka, J.M.; Wieskopf, J.S.; Zaloum, A.; King, O.D. & Mogil, J.S. (2012). Using the Mouse Grimace Scale to re-evaluate the efficacy of postoperative analgesics in laboratory mice. J. Am. Assoc. Lab. Anim. Sci., 51(1): 42-49.

McLennan, K.M.; Rebelo, C.J.; Corke, M.J.; Holmes, M.A.; Leach, M.C. & Constantino-Casas, F. (2016). Development of a facial expression scale using footrot and mastitis as models of pain in sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 176: 19-26.

Meshabaz, R.A.; Hussein, N.J.; Mersham, M.A. & Mhamed, M.S. (2017). Effect of using two music types on non-pregnant non-lactating Arabi ewes behaviour as a tool for welfare improvement. Sci. J. Uni. Zakho, 5(4): 301-306.

Moe, R.O.; Bakken, M.; Kittilsen, S.; Kingsley-Smith, H. & Spruijt, B.M. (2006). A note on reward-related behaviour and emotional expressions in farmed silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) basis for a novel tool to study animal welfare. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 101(3- 4): 362-368.

Molony, V. & Kent, J.E. (1997). Assessment of acute pain in farm animals using behavioral and physiological measurements, J. Anim. Sci., 75: 266-272.

Molony, V.; Kent, J.E. & McKendrick, I.J. (2002). Validation of a method for assessment of an acute pain in lambs, Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 76(3): 215-238.

Molony, V.; Kent, J.E.; Viñuela-Fernández, I.; Anderson, C. & Dwyer, C.M. (2012). Pain in lambs castrated at 2 days using novel smaller and tighter rubber rings without and with local anaesthetic. Vet. J., 193(1): 81-86.

Proctor, H.S., & Carder, G. (2014). Can ear postures reliably measure the positive emotional state of cows?. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 161: 20-27.

Reefmann, N.; Kaszàs, F.B.; Wechsler, B. & Gygax, L. (2009). Ear and tail postures as indicators of emotional valence in sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 118(3-4): 199-207.

Sotocinal, S.G.; Sorge, R.E.; Zaloum, A.; Tuttle, A.H.; Martin, L.J.; Wieskopf, J.S.; Mapplebeck, J.C.; Wei, P.; Zhan, S.; Zhang, S. & McDougall, J.J. (2011). The Rat grimace scale: A partially automated method for quantifying pain in the laboratory rat via facial expressions. Mol. Pain, 7(1): 55.

Stubsjøen, S. M.; Flø, A. S.; Moe, R. O.; Janczak, A. M.; Skjerve, E.; Valle, P. S. & Zanella, A. J. (2009). Exploring non- invasive methods to assess pain in sheep. Physiol. Behav., 98(5): 640-648.

Veissier, I.; Boissy, A.; Désiré, L. & Greiveldinger, L. (2009). Animals’ emotions: studies in sheep using appraisal theories. Anim. Welfare, 18(4): 347-354.



How to Cite

Hussein, N. J., & Hidayet, H. M. (2019). Changes in Ear Postures of Kid Goats in Response to Ear Tagging. Basrah J. Agric. Sci., 32(1), 25-33.




Most read articles by the same author(s)