Encyclopedia of Farm Animal Behavior Information

Reason for encyclopedia

This encyclopedia is intended for research and teaching. Within the field of applied animal ethology, the study of farm animal behavior, there are widely differing views of what actions constitute an given behavior. The duration of a given behavior might prevent it's inclusion into an ethogram. This encyclopedia will provide a standard for what actions compose a given behavior. 

Who is creating this project?

The Encyclopedia of Farm Animal Behavior is being undertaken by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Southern Plains Area, Livestock Issues Research Unit, Multimedia Division.

Where did the definitions came from?

Reprinted or adapted by permission from Dictionary of Farm Animal Behavior, second edition, by J. F. Hurnik, A. B. Webster, and P.B. Siegel, 1995 by Iowa State University Press, Ames. 

Dr. Frank Hurnik and Iowa State University Press have granted permission for the use of terms from the book Dictionary of Farm Animal Behavior, second edition to be used in this encyclopedia. Without this permission this project would not be at it's present stage.

What species are being shown?

We have started with cattle and pig behavior. Dr. Jack Albright has most kindly provided the raw footage from the video tape "Normal and Abnormal Behavior in Domestic Livestock Used for Research" to use as a starting point in this project.. This footage was funded by National Agricultural Library's Animal Welfare Information Center and done at Purdue University. Images from this source contain a reference. Additional images have been collected by the staff of the USDA-ARS Livestock Issues Research Unit.

How are images selected?

Dr. Morrow, Jeff Dailey and Adam Lewis will select the images to be used for a given behavior and then submit it to the review panel. Access to a given behavior will be on a restricted basis until the video clip representing the behavior is acceptable to a species panel. Once a majority of the review panel has agreed to a video clip it will be made accessible to the general public. 

If an image was accepted by the review panel but not by the authors of Dictionary of Farm Animal Behavior then the definition of the behavior will be changed from that given in Dictionary of Farm Animal Behavior and the reason for the change will be noted.

How to submit images for the encyclopedia?

We welcome any group or individual to submit images to the project. Please contact Jeff Dailey if you feel you have any examples that might able to be included in the project. A title shot indicating the source of any video footage is included in the video entry. We are currently able to use any format VHS tapes (PAL/NTSC) and NTSC S-VHS tapes. If you feel your format might be a problem please contact us. We will return all tapes submitted to us for use in this project.

What can you do if you do not agree with a behavior?

A comment form will be provided. Your comments will be used by the review panel to evaluate images on at least a yearly basis.


The definitions provided by Drs. Hurnik, Webster and Siegel with permission from the Iowa State University Press have provided a needed starting point for the project. Technical assistance for the design and layout has been provided by Dr. Haitao Jiang, Glen Gowen and Yvonne Dailey. 

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Revised: April 18, 2008