Document Detail

Establishment of vocal communication and discrimination between ewes and their lamb in the first two days after parturition.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17455235     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In sheep, the mother-young relationship is characterized by an exclusive bond that relies on the rapid establishment of mutual recognition. However, the role of acoustic cues has been underestimated and neglected in this early discrimination. Therefore, the aim of the present study was (1) to characterize the vocal behavior of ewes and their lambs during the first 15 days postpartum and (2) to investigate the ability of newborn lambs and their mothers to discriminate each other from alien subjects within the first 48 hr postpartum on the basis of acoustic cues only. Ewes started to vocalize in the last 3 hr preceding parturition, emitting mainly high-pitched bleats. However, the bleating activity was highest during the first 3 hr following birth, consisting mainly of low-pitched bleats. Thereafter it decreased sharply until 24 hr postpartum, with most of the activity coming from the mother. In a two-choice test, ewes discriminated their own from an alien lamb on the basis of acoustic cues only at 24 hr postpartum, while lambs did so for their mother at 48 hr, which in both cases was much earlier than reported so far. We conclude that early vocal recognition between the ewe and her lamb may play an important role for the maintenance of mother-young contact.
Frédéric Sèbe; Raymond Nowak; Pascal Poindron; Thierry Aubin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Developmental psychobiology     Volume:  49     ISSN:  0012-1630     ISO Abbreviation:  Dev Psychobiol     Publication Date:  2007 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-30     Completed Date:  2007-07-16     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0164074     Medline TA:  Dev Psychobiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  375-86     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
(c) 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
INRA, UMR85 Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements F-37380 Nouzilly, CNRS, UMR6175 F-37380 Nouzilly, Université de Tours F-37041 Tours, Haras Nationaux F-37380 Nouzilly, France.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Communication*
Animals, Newborn
Auditory Perception
Choice Behavior
Discrimination Learning*
Maternal Behavior / psychology*
Perceptual Masking
Sheep / psychology*
Vocalization, Animal*

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