Document Detail

The effects of pasture availability for twin- and triplet-bearing ewes in mid and late pregnancy on ewe and lamb behaviour 12 to 24 h after birth.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22443624     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of offering ewes two different feeding levels, during mid and late pregnancy, on ewe and lamb behaviour 12 to 24 h after birth. Romney ewes, bearing twin (n = 80) or triplet foetuses (n = 56), were allocated to a pasture sward height of 2 or 4 cm between 70 and 107 days of pregnancy. In late pregnancy (day 107 to 147), half of the ewes were reallocated the alternate sward height, which produced four treatments: 2-2, 2-4, 4-2 and 4-4. Ewes were weighed on days 65, 92, 107 and 130 of pregnancy and lamb live weights were recorded 12 to 24 h after birth. Twelve to 24 h after birth the maternal behaviour score (MBS) of the ewes were determined, whilst their lambs were tagged. After the lambs were released, the behaviour of each ewe and her lambs was observed for 5 min. Ewe treatment and litter size had no effect on ewe MBS. However, as MBS increased (ewes stayed closer to lambs during tagging), ewes bleated less in a high-pitch and were quicker to make contact with their lamb. During the observation period, ewes in the 4-4 treatment had a greater percentage of their bleats in a low pitch (P < 0.05) than ewes in the 2-2 and 4-2 treatment (61.3% v. 41.3% and 38.8% low bleats, respectively) and more lambs born to 4-4 ewes (95%) bleated than lambs born to 2-2 ewes (84%; P < 0.05). However, lambs born to ewes in the 2-2 treatment bleated earlier than lambs in all other treatments (P < 0.05). Lambs born to 4-4 ewes were less likely (P < 0.05) to move towards their dam in order to make contact than lambs born to 2-2 or 4-2 ewes (3.1% v. 16.9% and 16.7%, respectively). These findings suggest that under the conditions of the present study, ewe nutrition had little effect on maternal behaviour. However, lambs born to ewes offered 2 cm pasture sward heights during mid and/or late pregnancy (2-2, 2-4 and 4-2 treatments) displayed behaviour that demonstrated greater 'need' whereas lambs born to ewes offered 4 cm during mid and late pregnancy sought less attention from their dam.
R A Corner; P R Kenyon; K J Stafford; D M West; S T Morris; M H Oliver
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal : an international journal of animal bioscience     Volume:  4     ISSN:  1751-7311     ISO Abbreviation:  Animal     Publication Date:  2010 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-03-26     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101303270     Medline TA:  Animal     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  108-15     Citation Subset:  -    
1Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
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