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Influence of maternal undernutrition on the behaviour of juvenile lambs

By P. E. Simitzis, M. A. Charismiadou, B. Kotsampasi, G. Papadomichelakis, E. P. Christopoulou, E. K. Papavlasopoulou, S. G. Deligeorgis

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Abstract

The objective of the present experiment was to determine the implications of prenatal undernutrition on the behaviour of juvenile lambs. Dams of one group (C) were fed 100% of the recommended requirements throughout pregnancy, while those of two other groups were fed 50% of the control nutrient allowance during the first 30 days of pregnancy (R1) or 50% of the control nutrient allowance from days 31-100 of pregnancy (R2). Between 2 and 5 months old, behaviour of lambs was tested by the implementation of 2 types of test: isolation and novelty. There were no statistical differences between lamb treatments in escape behaviour and heart rates during isolation test, or the latency to approach a novel or a familiar object in the novelty test in tests conducted at 2, 3, 4 and 5 months of age. Male lambs showed a tendency of turning to the right-hand side of the test pen, irrespective of treatment group, between the age of 2 and 5 months old. A greater proportion of C compared to R1 males turned right at the age of 2 and 5 months old (P<0.05). Significant differences concerning laterality were found also between C and R1 female lambs at the age of 2 and 4 months old (P<0.001), between C and R2 male lambs at the age of 2 months old (P<0.05), between C and R2 female lambs at the age of 4 and 5 months old (P<0.01), between R1 and R2 male lambs at the age of 2 and 5 months old (P<0.05) and between R1 and R2 female lambs at the age of 2 months old (P<0.001). It is concluded that prenatal undernutrition during different periods of pregnancy had no effect on fear-related behaviour, but effect on laterality at the early stages of lamb age between 2 and 5 months old.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 116
Issue 2/4
Pages 191-197
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.09.007
Language English
Author Address Laboratory of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Department of Animal Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos, 11855 Athens, Greece. sdel@aua.gr
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Dams
  5. Gestation
  6. Heart
  7. Lambs
  8. Latency
  9. Mammals
  10. Nutrition
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. pregnancy
  13. Primates
  14. Ruminants
  15. Sheep
  16. Wool producing animals
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  1. peer-reviewed