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Do Animals Suffer From Boredom ?


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#1 petrushkagoogol

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:32 AM

Ever thought what the cow grazing in the neighboring pasture has to say ?
Day after day, year after year it does the same routine ?
Would this induce ennui in the animal ?  :innocent:


#2 CraigD

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 10:50 AM

It’s widely accepted by pet owners and animal scientists both that most or all mammals can suffer from boredom. This is especially important in pets, because boredom can lead to misbehavior, such as destroying their owners stuff.

Interestingly, perhaps because it’s so widely believed, there hasn’t been a lot of tightly controlled scientific testing of boredom in animals. The authors of the 2012 paper described in this ScienceDaily article, about an experiment testing boredom in caged minks, claims it’s the “first study to empirically demonstrate boredom in confined animals”.

I have a pet box turtle, and often wonder if he is capable of experiencing a mental state that could reasonably be called boredom. He becomes inactive after eating, and if I let his temperature drop below 16 C during winter months, will hibernate, but I don’t think he “feels bored” during such inactivity. Boredom, I think, must involve some sort of unhappiness. While my turtle seems capable of arousal (such as when he hunts for bugs) fear (such as when I surprise him changing his food or water), and as mentioned, inactivity, I can’t don’t think “unhappy” or “bored” is in his emotional repertoire.

It would be interesting, I think, to test many different animals for their capacity for boredom and other emotions known in humans, but as far as I know, no such study has been done. Perhaps such a categorization is too ill defined and soft for behavioral science.

#3 Mariel33

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:04 AM

Yes, and that's why it's important that people live responsibly - not just so that they don't experience boredom but so that mammals don't experience it.



#4 DrKrettin

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:24 AM

The lizards in our garden spend a lot of time in the sunshine, and they yawn a lot. There's not a lot for them to do.



#5 fahrquad

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:41 PM

When we had fish they were very interested in what we were doing.  The male Rottweiler at the next house up who is chained during the day keeps pawing and barking at the same spot of ground.  I assume there is a mole or chipmunk burrowing in the ground in the root zone of the 30+/- year old white oak (Quercus Alba).  The female German Shepard below us is in the fence and comes up to greet me whenever I go to the trash can.  She spends most of her time outside playing with the Shitzu(?) they have.  I think it is a good idea to have a companion for any pets to keep them from getting bored (and ultimately somewhat psychotic).



#6 Farming guy

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 04:56 PM

 

Ever thought what the cow grazing in the neighboring pasture has to say ?
Day after day, year after year it does the same routine ?
Would this induce ennui in the animal ?  :innocent:

 

In the example of cows, they are prey animals and probably don't want excitement, because that would mean someone is about eat them.  I can tell you from my lifetime of working with cows that you cannot sneak up on a cow, as they are very observant of their surroundings.  When the neighbor goes to get his morning paper, the cows are watching.  

 

If I forget to close a barn gate, many cows will run out and prance about for a while, but the barn is their home, and after the novelty wears off, they will go back in and resume their routine.

 

When I have a cow in need of a hoof trimming, I always have an audience of bovines, but once they know what is going on, they again return to their routine.



#7 fahrquad

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 05:54 PM

In the example of cows, they are prey animals and probably don't want excitement, because that would mean someone is about eat them.  I can tell you from my lifetime of working with cows that you cannot sneak up on a cow, as they are very observant of their surroundings.  When the neighbor goes to get his morning paper, the cows are watching.  

 

If I forget to close a barn gate, many cows will run out and prance about for a while, but the barn is their home, and after the novelty wears off, they will go back in and resume their routine.

 

When I have a cow in need of a hoof trimming, I always have an audience of bovines, but once they know what is going on, they again return to their routine.

 

When we first moved to SC in 1974 our house backed up to about 50 acres of pasture that was across the road from the other 150 acres (I moved out into my own house in 1986).  The owner (who was also our mailman) moved the cattle from time to time when the grass is depleted.  The cows were curious when we were out and would come to the fence.  I remember one occasion as a kid when I was in the pasture and the cattle started coming toward me.    I had no idea what the big lumbering beasts wanted and left in a hurry.



#8 fahrquad

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:02 AM

On an unrelated note, I saw a Great Horned Owl up in the oak tree in the backyard.about 9 months ago.  It was daytime and i was surprised to see him.  He looked at me and silently flew off.  I bring this up now because I was just outside smoking and heard the call of the owl.  This is what they look like for those unfamiliar with them.

 

great-horned-owl-gazing-from-a-tree-4792



#9 fahrquad

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:04 AM

More on the Great Horned Owls.  One of the biggest owls in North and South America.

 

Adult great horned owls range in length from 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in), with an average of 55 cm (22 in), and possess a wingspan of 91 to 153 cm (3 ft 0 in to 5 ft 0 in), with an average of 122 cm (48 in). Females are somewhat larger than males.[10][11] Mean body weight is 1,608 g (3.545 lb) for females and 1,224 g (2.698 lb) for males.[12][13] Depending on subspecies, maximum weight can reach 2,503 g (5.518 lb).[14]

 

https://en.wikipedia...reat_horned_owl


Edited by fahrquad, 14 January 2017 - 02:10 AM.


#10 fahrquad

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:41 AM

When we first moved to SC in 1974 our house backed up to about 50 acres of pasture that was across the road from the other 150 acres (I moved out into my own house in 1986).  The owner (who was also our mailman) moved the cattle from time to time when the grass is depleted.  The cows were curious when we were out and would come to the fence.  I remember one occasion as a kid when I was in the pasture and the cattle started coming toward me.    I had no idea what the big lumbering beasts wanted and left in a hurry.

 

I think I still abut his property at the corner of the property at my 3rd house (4th if you count the house I bought from my sister-in-law after her divorce)(I spent 6 months in there wiring a new electrical service and doing general renovations).  Anyhow, I need to stop in at Paul's house to say hi.  I just saw my neighbor's son who inherited the property to the rear.  His dad was my agriculture teacher and homeroom teacher in High School.  He always talked about running for the State House, and served about 12 years in the SC  House of Representatives.  He died around April of 2015, and his son has split the 15.9 acre parcel into 3 lots.  A rather large house is being built on the lot directly behind me (over the hill and through the woods).  I had feared that as soon as M.O. died the property would be sold and cut up into about 100 (townhouse) lots, but that doesn't appear to be possible now.  The deer, raccoons, opossums, and little sparrows (and myself) will appreciate that the development is not more intense and the critters don't need to relocate.


Edited by fahrquad, 14 January 2017 - 03:14 AM.


#11 fahrquad

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:47 AM

i had vowed that the day that I heard bulldozers over there would be the day I put this house up for sale.  No need now.



#12 fahrquad

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 09:44 AM

 

Ever thought what the cow grazing in the neighboring pasture has to say ?
Day after day, year after year it does the same routine ?
Would this induce ennui in the animal ?  :innocent:

 

 

Can you please chose a different avatar?  I find myself wanting to give the geek in the picture a wedgie.



#13 DianeG

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:46 AM

When my farmer husband had pigs, he would hang a tire from a beam in the barn in their pen so they would have something  to play with. He said this kept them from getting bored and biting other pigs. 



#14 Speedjohn

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:59 AM

If we talk about dogs.if dog has done nothing all day,when you ask them to go outside, they are always excited. obviously they were bored that's why they get excited to go outside. 



#15 Parker99

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:01 AM

 

Ever thought what the cow grazing in the neighboring pasture has to say ?
Day after day, year after year it does the same routine ?
Would this induce ennui in the animal ?  :innocent:

 

 

You have to understand animal in nature  main goal is to get food, water and reproduce. Well in nature it is not equality but survival of the fittest. Nature is very hard and harsh and because it takes so much time boredom is less apparent.

 

When people domesticate animals you change the game of what nature is and put them in different environmental not design for it. Well because they not spending most of the time and energy looking for food ad water boredom sets in, If you the owner don't look after them they stay bored.

 

Just get cat they always walking around and coming up to people finding things to do.

 

Now take some on other extreme like  say ant or spider that changes the game. An ant spends all their time moving around working and no time for boredom. A spider that just makes spider web and staying in one spot is probably in dream like state 90% of time or more!! Or would be going mad at staying still all day and being bored.



#16 Farming guy

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 05:17 PM

The gate wasn't open for long when one cow walked on the opposite side of the tractor and continued right up to the edge of the manure pit, and leaped right in!  Balancing on a 2 x 12 that I placed on the thick slurry of manure to distribute my weight, I carried a halter, a set of hip lifters, and a chain.  I knelt down on the plank, placed the halter on her head, moved myself over toward where her hips were, reached down up to my shoulders into the manure to place the lifters on her hips and wound them on tight with the hand crank, performing the task entirely by feel, hooked the chain to the lifter, and we got her out with the front end of the loader.  To express her gratitude for her rescue, as I was removing the lifters and the halter, she slammed me int the gate, being sure to rub as much manure onto me as possible.

 

I would highly recommend to anyone thinking about starting up in the cow business, do not have a cow!


Edited by Farming guy, 30 June 2017 - 05:19 PM.


#17 Deepwater6

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 07:32 PM

I can't speak for cows, but I do have farms that surround my house that have goats, sheep, and cows. But I have to admit I never took notice of their level of daily boredom or entertainment. Since Farming guy is so familiar with this sort of livestock I think he would be our best bet to give us clear picture after his years of observation.

 

I do have 3 large dogs that shack up with me though. Even though sometimes they drive me to bang my head against the wall, I'm very attached to the Marmadukes. The first and oldest I've had since he was a puppy and is now 13yrs old. This dog is a black lab/chow mix. He has the size and the look of a full grown Lab, but has the distinctive Chow coat color. He has the purple tongue and is a very unique mix and a beautiful dog.

 

I bought him back when I was working shift work to provide protection when I worked night shifts. This dog is all business with only one thing on his mind....guarding the emperor. There is no playing ball or throwing a Frisbee with this guy, but he is very intelligent and knows a plethora of commands. Bred by the Chinese for generations to give the emperor protection or die trying. This dog will stand between me and any stranger that comes on my property. His favorite pastime is to sit as a canine gargoyle sentry on my property line for hours. If I had to characterize his moods I would say serious and stoical not boredom.

 

I also have two other dogs (a brother and a sister} yellow lab/golden retriever mixes. These two are much more playful and energetic. Their favorite thing to do is chase and retrieve the tennis balls I hit with a racket to burn off some of their energy. The female wants to have a purpose. I believe she would make a great dog for herding animals in the right setting.

 

She is loyal and intelligent. If I hit the tennis ball a thousand times she would go after it until her legs gave out. In contrast the brother is much less intelligent and much less motivated. When I go to the garage to pick up the racket both will squeal with excitement and dance around it tight circles to express their happiness. But after 4 or 5 throws or so the male will slack off. He seems to still have the stamina to keep going, but tires of the game. Then he goes off to other parts of the property looking for entertainment.

 

My point is I think all animals have to be viewed through the lens of their individual personality. Just as some humans are easily amused or have a bad temper who's to say animals would be any different? IMHO I feel that all people and animals must deal with differences in personality in relation to their surroundings. Technology may one day include the tweeting of unfiltered thoughts from animals as, such as jackasses.