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Investigating the motivation to play in lambs

By Durga Chapagain, Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, Lena 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 5min (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 20min (consummatory phase). They returned to their home pen where they were observed for 6min (post-consummatory phase). Direct observations were made in each location and behaviours were recorded as frequencies per min. Ear postures were recorded instantaneously every 15s for 3min 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
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.08.004
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Frustration
  2. Lambs
  3. play
  4. Posture