Grandin Shares Her Insights into Animal Behavior

By Nelson, Nona | The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA), March 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

Grandin Shares Her Insights into Animal Behavior


Nelson, Nona, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)


Before I heard it from Temple Grandin, I would never know that a chicken deprived of privacy in her egg-laying coop would be unhappy, even anxious.

Left exposed to do her most personal business, "? she'll feel like she's in a hotel room without a door in a bad part of town," Grandin joked in her keynote speech to the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association's conference at the Hotel Roanoke on Feb. 24.

The 64-year-old professor from Colorado State University, sporting her trademark cowgirl shirt and tie (she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2010), held the attention of a ballroom full of veterinary health professionals and at least one curious pet lover for almost an hour in a lively discussion about animal behavior.

From large livestock to pocket-size pets, Grandin shared insights about behavior backed with observation, humor and science.

One tidbit: It turns out gerbils also share a chicken's desire for alone time. If your gerbil is constantly digging in his bedding, he's not unhappy with the wood shavings, he's trying to build shelter. You can save the poor little guy a lot of work and anxiety by adding a den to his pen.

Grandin, who holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois in animal science, has published four books and hundreds of articles, and tours the country talking about humane treatment of animals. At the Hotel Roanoke, she breezed through a slide show that presented science in a very accessible, even humorous way, and explained much about the way animals process information. …

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