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Space allowance during gestation and early maternal separation: effects on the fear response and social motivation of lambs

By X. Averos, J. Marchewka, I. Beltran de Heredia, A. J. Zanella, R. Ruiz, I. Estevez

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Abstract

A common prenatal stressor in lambs is early maternal separation, which may be aggravated by spatial restriction of ewes during pregnancy. They may influence lambs' development and coping abilities. The aim of this study was to determine how space allowance provided to ewes during pregnancy and early maternal separation affected the fear response and social motivation of lambs. A total of 54 ewes were randomly assigned to three living areas of 1, 2, or 3 m 2/ewe (SA1, SA2, and SA3, respectively) during pregnancy. After birth, lambs from each treatment remained with their mothers (MR) or were early separated (ES). In the study 42, 2-3 day old lambs were sequentially subjected to a novel arena, a novel object, and a social motivation test. Information on their behaviour, movement patterns, and vocalizations was collected. Results of the study indicate that ES lambs born from SA1 ewes were more fearful, as indicated by the higher levels of immobility and number of vocalizations during novel arena tests, the latter being also observed during novel object tests ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 163
Pages 98-109
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.11.015
Language English
Author Address Neiker-Tecnalia, Department of Animal Production, P.O. Box 46, 01080 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.iestevez@neiker.net
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal reproduction
  3. Animals
  4. Bovidae
  5. Effect
  6. Fear
  7. Humans
  8. Lambs
  9. Mammals
  10. Men
  11. mothers
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. pregnancy
  14. Primates
  15. Ruminants
  16. Sheep
  17. ungulates
  18. vertebrates
  19. Wool producing animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed