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Schilling, Anna-Katarina; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Palme, Rupert; Erhard, Michael; Wöhr, Anna-Caroline (2015): Stress Assessment in Small Ruminants Kept on City Farms in Southern Germany. In: Journal of applied animal welfare science, Vol. 18, No. 2: pp. 119-132
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Abstract

Sheep and goats are frequently used in nonhuman animal-assisted activities on city farms. There are few data available on this type of usage of small ruminants. Health evaluations, behavioral observations (feeding, resting, comfort, explorative and social behaviors), behavioral tests (human approach tests and touch test), and measurements of fecal cortisol metabolites and heart rate were performed to assess stress levels in 25 sheep and 32 goats on 7 city farms and 2 activity playgrounds in Germany. No evidence was found that the animals suffered from major distress. Health evaluations, behavioral observations, and behavioral tests proved to be the methods of stress assessment most suitable for routine on-farm checks in these settings.