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Effects of repeated changes in group composition on immune response, behaviour, adrenal activity and liveweight gain in farmed red deer yearlings

By A. J. Hanlon, S. M. Rhind, H. W. Reid, C. Burrells, A. B. Lawrence

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Abstract

The validity of antibody and lymphocyte response as measures of social stress in farmed red deer hinds was assessed by comparison with other indices of stress (behaviour, adrenal capacity and liveweight gain). 10 "wild" red deer (mixed, M), born to wild hinds after capture, were each housed in 10 separate groups of 5 farmed deer. After 2 weeks the groups were completely re-mixed. Mixing was repeated at weekly intervals for 4 successive weeks. As a control, 10 "wild" deer (C) were maintained in the same 2 groups of 5 throughout the study. All wild deer were immunized with keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH) 1 week before re-mixing (week 2). Mixed deer were subjected to more aggression than C deer. At week 6, plasma cortisol concentrations after ACTH injection increased more in M than C deer. There were no differences in liveweight gain between M and C deer. Lymphocyte responses to KLH were significantly lower in M than C deer, but there were no differences in antibody response to KLH. It is concluded that the repeated mixing of groups was a significant social stressor and that lymphocyte response to an antigen may be a more sensitive immunological measure of social stress in red deer than antibody response.

Date 1995
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 44
Issue 1
Pages 57-64
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB9 2QL, UK.
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Tags
  1. Activity
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Antibodies
  5. British Isles
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Cortisol
  8. Deer
  9. Developed countries
  10. Europe
  11. Game animals
  12. Great Britain
  13. Hydrocortisone
  14. Immune response
  15. Immunity reactions
  16. Immunogens
  17. Immunological reactions
  18. Liveweight gains
  19. Mammals
  20. OECD countries
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Stress
  23. United Kingdom
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  1. peer-reviewed