Experimental methods in draught animal research
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Experimentation and the importance of controls is discussed. Methods of calculating minimum numbers of animals for any particular experiment are given and it is noted that these numbers are often inconveniently large for experiments using draught animals. In certain circumstances animals can be used as their own controls and this can reduce considerably the number required. Examples of this approach are given. Difficulties peculiar to draught animal experiments are cited and examples given. This include - adaptation of animals to work regimes during the course of a long experiment, the use of inappropriate measuring techniques borrowed from other branches of science, the use of over - sophisticated data collection techniques, selecting animals for experiments which are not typical of those used by farmers. The paper ends with examples of practical problems which beset draught animal experiments in the field, e.g., choosing and sampling large amounts of high-roughage diets, the influence of the drover on the work output of the animal and making experimental plans sufficiently flexible so that if days are lost viable information can still be obtained.
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