Behaviour of Farm & Companion Animals

Subject DASC90009 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 72 hours
Total Time Commitment:

Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment (including non-contact time): 130 hours

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this subject.
Corequisites: There are no corequisites for this subject.
Recommended Background Knowledge: There is no recommended background knowledge.
Non Allowed Subjects: There are no non-allowed subjects.
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. This course requires all students to enrol in subjects where they must actively and safely contribute to laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and Disability Liaison Unit (8344 7068 or ).

Health requirements

Q Fever

Students enrolling in the Faculty of Land & Food Resources are advised that some courses of study may put them at an increased risk of contracting Q Fever. Q Fever is a relatively common preventable condition which, while rarely fatal, can cause a severe acute illness and can result in damage to heart valves and chronic fatigue. It is recommended that students consider undertaking screening and vaccination for Q Fever prior to commencement of study. Students may be required to provide proof of vaccination prior to undertaking some coursework. Your course coordinator will advise you of this requirement prior to commencement of the study semester. Vaccine costs for students are not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, Medicare, or by the University. Some students with full private medical coverage (which has hospital and ancillary cover) may receive partial re-imbursement for vaccine costs.


Prof Paul Hemsworth


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Land & Food Resources (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

This subject aims to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the study of the research methods of animal behaviour; domestic animal behaviour, its causation and its biological function; and the application of animal behaviour principles to animal behaviour problems.

The topics covered will include:
  • describing, recording and measuring behaviour
  • development of behaviour
  • stimuli and communication
  • motivation and decision making
  • learning and memory
  • genetic influences on behaviour
  • hormonal and neural influences on behaviour
  • social behaviour, including sexual behaviour, maternal behaviour and dam-neonate interactions
  • behavioural problems.

The objectives of this subject are to:

  • extend the student's knowledge of the content covered in Applied Animal Behaviour subjects in the undergraduate programmes.
  • provide students with a knowledge and understanding of applied animal behaviour that can be applied effectively in farm, companion, zoo and laboratory animal research, management, care and production.
Assessment: Three-hour examination (50%), 5000 word research project/assignment (40%), 15 minute oral presentation (10%).
Prescribed Texts:

Barnard, C. (2004) Animal Behaviour: Mechanism, Development, Function and Evolution. Pearson/Prentice Hall.

McFarland, D. (1999) Animal Behaviour. Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Fraser, A.F.and Broom, D.M. (1990) Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare. CABI.

Jensen, P. The Ethology of Domestic Animals. An Introductory Text. CAB International.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • academic excellence
  • greater in-depth understanding of scientific disciplines of animal behaviour

The student will develop:

  • critical thinking and analysis, and problem solving
  • flexibility and level of transferable skills should be enhanced through improved ability to communicate ideas effectively in both written and verbal formats.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Animal Science

Download PDF version.