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Mother-young behaviours at lambing in grazing ewes: effects of lamb sex and food restriction in pregnancy

By A. Freitas-De-Melo, R. Ungerfeld, M. J. Hotzel, M. J. Abud, A. Alvarez-Oxiley, A. Orihuela, J. P. Damian, R. Perez-Clariget

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Abstract

This study investigated whether the level of pasture allowance from before conception until late pregnancy affects ewe-lamb behaviours at birth, and if those behaviours differ according to the sex of the lambs. We performed two experiments, in which 96 ewes were assigned to one of two nutritional treatments: high native pasture allowance [10-12 kg of dry matter/100 kg of body weight (BW)/day] or low pasture allowance (5-8 kg of dry matter/100 kg of BW/day). In Experiment 1, treatments began 23 days before artificial insemination and ended at 122 days of gestation (groups HPA-1, n=38; and LPA-1, n=25 for high and low pasture allowance, respectively), and in Experiment 2, started 40 days before artificial insemination and ended at 105 days of gestation (groups HPA-2, n=22; and LPA-2, n=11 for high and low pasture allowance, respectively). Thereafter, all ewes received rice bran (200 g/animal/day) and 50 mL of crude glycerine/animal/day. Ewes' body condition score (BCS) and BW were recorded at lambing. Latency from parturition to licking her lamb, maternal behaviour score (MBS; a test that evaluates maternal attachment to the lamb), lambs' BW, and latency to stand up and suckle were recorded. In Experiment 1, HPA-1 ewes had greater BCS and BW (2.50.04 units vs. 2.250.05 units and 52.70.4 kg vs. 50.20.4 kg, respectively; P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 168
Pages 31-36
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.04.009
Language English
Author Address Departamento de Biologia Molecular y Celular, Universidad de la Republica, Lasplaces 1620, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay.alinefreitasdemelo@hotmail.com
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Artificial insemination
  4. Birth
  5. Body condition
  6. Body weight
  7. Concepts
  8. Effect
  9. Food restriction
  10. Grazing
  11. Insemination
  12. Interactions
  13. Lambing
  14. Lambs
  15. Maternal behavior
  16. Nutrition
  17. pastures
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. pregnancy
  20. rice
  21. sex differences
  22. Sheep
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed