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Education Courses Applied Ethology

Applied Ethology

Method of evaluation
semi-final examination
Year in the curriculum
Semester in the curriculum
Practical lessons
veterinary (English)
Allow for
  • Vet EN

Course description

The study of applied veterinary ethology gives the students an opportunity to understand the normal or healthy behavioural characteristics of the most important farm and companion animals that occur in a normal veterinary praxis. The students will be able to evaluate the signals of bad animal welfare and the forms of abnormal behaviour on individual and herd level and also will be able to assess the environmental stress factors via examining the behaviour of the animals. Students will learn the basics of Animal Welfare Science and animal welfare assessments. The study of applied veterinary ethology contributes to a greater understanding of the interactions between humans and other animals and helps to create a better balance between animal welfare and the requirements that humans have of other animals.

Lectures theme


Theoretical lectures and practicals of Applied ethology, 2023/24 1st semester


Week Lesson Date Lecturer Topic
1 1-3 Sept. 8. Eszter Losonczi Introduction to the discipline: Veterinary Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare Science. Short history and objectives.

Stress and welfare, abnormal behaviour.

2 4-6 Sept. 15. Zsóka Várhidi Behaviour genetics, evolution, and domestication. Behaviour and physiology.

Motivation and the organisation of behaviour. General characteristics of innate behaviour.

3 7-9 Sept. 22. Zsóka Várhidi Social and reproductive behaviour.

Learning and cognition, modifications of innate behaviour.

Human-animal relationship.

4 10-12 Sept. 29. László Kovács Behavioural traits of the domestic fowl, turkey, ducks, and geese.

Correlation between behavioural requirements and housing and nutrition in poultry production.

5 13-15 Oct. 6. Barbara Vass-Bognár Behavioural traits of the cattle. General characteristics.

Influence of the management technology on the behaviour of dairy cattle. Abnormal behaviour of cattle.

6 16-18 Oct. 13. Boglárka Köböl Behaviour of the horse. General characteristics. Connection between the environment and behaviour, abnormal forms of behaviour.
7 19-21 Oct. 20. Eszter Losonczi Behavioural traits of the pig. Connection between management technologies and behaviour of the pigs.

Abnormal behaviour of pigs.

8 22-24 Oct. 27. Ágnes Sátori Behavioural characteristics of cats. Abnormal behaviour. Treatment of malbehaviour.
10 28-30 Nov. 10. Ágnes Sátori Behavioural characteristics of dogs. Abnormal behaviour. Treatment of malbehaviour.
11 31-33 Nov. 17. Barbara Vass-Bognár General characteristics of behaviour of sheep and goat. Connection between behaviour and housing.
12 34-36 Nov. 24. Eszter Losonczi Presentations of students’ own work.
13 37-39 Dec. 1.
14 40-42 Dec. 8.
15 43-45 Dec. 15.


Budapest, 2023. 09. 01.

Losonczi Eszter

egy. adjunktus

Evaluation description

Students own work: Several topics will be offered, and some own ideas can also be worked out (covering the themes of the course: normal and abnormal behaviour of animals [mainly cattle, small ruminants, poultry, swine, horse, dog and cat], the human-animal relationships, animal welfare science, etc.). Students need to form small groups (max 4-6 student/group) and work on their own topics: literature searching, problem description, and suggesting solutions (if it is possible). The results of the work will be presented as a 10 min long ppt presentation during the practicals from 19th Nov. The presented topics will be discussed by the teachers and the other students, and then a score will be given for the group. The score will cover the presentation and also the capability to answer questions by the teachers and classmates. The score will be a part of the final score at the end of the semester.

Exam information

The students can get a maximum of 100 points (25 from the presentation + 75 from the wirtten exam)

Marks: < 55% = fail (1) 56-65 % = passing (2) 66-80 % = fair (3) 81-90% = good (4) 91-100 % = excellent (5)


Lecture notes will be uploaded to the webpage of the Unversity

Recommended readings:

General ethology and animal welfare:
Jensen, P. 2017. The ethology of domestic animals, 3rd ed., CABI, Wallingford, UK, ISBN: 9781786391650
Brown, JA., Sheddon, YM., Appleby, MC. 2016. Animals and us: 50 years and more of applied ethology. Wageningen, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9789086868285
Breed, MD., Moore, J. 2012. Animal behavior. Academic Press, Burlington, USA
Philips, C. 2009. The Welfare of Animals. The Silent Majority. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9781402092183

For more species:
Ekesbo, I., Gunnarson, S. 2018. Farm animal behaviour, CABI, Wallingford, UK, ISBN: 9781786391391
Jensen, P. 2017. The ethology of domestic animals, 3rd ed., CABI, Wallingford, UK, ISBN: 9781786391650
Broom, DM., Fraser, AF. 2015. Domestic animal behaviour and welfare. 5th ed. CABI, Wallnigford, UK, ISBN: 978178064563
Beaver, BV., Höglund, DL. 2016. Efficient livestock handling. Academic Press, London, UK, ISBN: 9780124186705

Cattle behaviour and welfare:
Rushen, J. et al. 2008. The welfare of cattle. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, ISBN 9781402065576
Hulsen, J. 2006. Cow signals, Roodbond, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9075280653
Welfare Quality. 2009. Welfare Quality assessment protocol for cattle. Welfare Quality Consortium, Lelystad, The Netherlands

Pig behaviour and welfare:
Marchant-Forde, J. 2009. The welfare of pigs. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9781402089084
Welfare Quality. 2009. Welfare Quality assessment protocol for cattle. Welfare Quality Consortium, Lelystad, The Netherlands

Horse behaviour and welfare:
McGreevy, P. 2012. Equine Behavior. 2nd ed. A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists. Saunders, ISBN: 9780702043376
Waran, N. 2007. The Welfare of Horses. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, ISBN: 9780306482151

Poultry behaviour and welfare:
Van Horne, PLM., Achterbosch, TJ. 2008. Animal welfare in poultry production systems: impact of European Union standards on world trade. World Poultry Sci. J. 64: 40-52.
Nicol, CJ., Davies, A. Poultry welfare in developing countries. FAO

Canine and feline behaviour and welfare
APPLEBY,D (2004): The APBC book of companion animal behaviour, Souvenir Press
ASKEW,H.R.(1996): Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats. Blackwell Science, Oxford.
Atkinson, T. (2018): Practical feline behaviour, CABI
BEAVER, B.V. (1999): Canine behavior: A guide for veterinarians, Saunders
Bradshaw, Casey, Brown (2012): Domestic cat, CABI
Fraser, A.F. (2012):Feline behaviour and welfare, CABI
HORWITZ, D, NEILSON, J.C. (2007): Canine and feline behavior (Blackwell’s five minute), Blackwell
LINDSAY, S.R. (2001): Handbook of applied dog behavior and training. Iowa State Press, Iowa.
OVERALL, K.L. (1997, 2013): Clinical behavioral medicine for small animals, Mosby
Rodan I., Heath S. (2016):Feline behavioral health and welfare, Elsevier
SERPELL, J.A (2006): The domestic dog: its evolution, behaviour and interactions with people, Cambridge University Press