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Investigating the motivation to play in lambs

By D. Chapagain, K. Uvnas-Moberg, L. M. Lidfors

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The aim of this study was to identify behaviours and ear postures linked to the appetitive, consummatory and post-consummatory motivational phases of play in male lambs, and to evaluate how cortisol was affected by play. Ten pairs of male lambs, Ovis aries were observed in a play arena three times a week for 4 weeks. They were kept in a holding pen for 5 min (appetitive phase) where they could look into the play arena (containing a ball, two chains and a tunnel) and thereafter released into the play arena for 20 min (consummatory phase). They returned to their home pen where they were observed for 6 min (post-consummatory phase). Direct observations were made in each location and behaviours were recorded as frequencies per min. Ear postures were recorded instantaneously every 15 s for 3 min per location. Saliva samples were taken in the 4th week for analysis of cortisol. Behaviours were analysed with a generalized linear model and cortisol with paired t-test. In the holding pen, the most common behaviours were walking, sniffing pen, standing facing play arena, standing facing alley, butting and pawing. Walking ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 160
Pages 64-74
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Publisher Elsevier
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 234, SE-532 23 Skara,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analysis
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animals
  5. Bovidae
  6. Ear
  7. Feeding
  8. Hydrocortisone
  9. Lambs
  10. Mammals
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Ruminants
  13. saliva
  14. Sheep
  15. ungulates
  16. vertebrates
  17. Wool producing animals
  1. peer-reviewed