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Effects of the method of restraint for shearing on behaviour and heart rate variability in alpacas

By Susanne Waiblinger, Franziska Hajek, Bianca Lambacher, Thomas Wittek

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Abstract

Alpacas are increasingly kept in Europe for different purposes including fibre production. Yearly shearing is necessary to harvest fibre and for welfare reasons. Different methods of restraint are used during shearing, which may affect the welfare of the animals differently. The aim of the study was to compare three common restraint methods: Standing, the animal is standing and held by hand; Ground, the animal is laid down and its legs are tied up and stretched out by ropes; Table, the animal is restrained on a special table, legs are tied up by ropes. We recorded behaviour continuously during restraint and, afterwards, at 10-min intervals from 30–120 min in alpacas sheared during restraint (ExpRS, 45 animals, 15 animals per treatment) or only restrained (ExpR, 15 animals, repeated measures). HRV and HR was measured in ExpR. Large individual variation was found, especially in ExpRS. One Standing animal in ExpRS could not be shorn due to strong defence reactions. During restraint, fewer Standing animals vocalised in ExpRS (p = 0.07) and showed least flinching in both experiments (p 

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 223
Pages 104918
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.104918
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Tags
  1. Handling
  2. Heart rate
  3. restraint
  4. shearing
  5. Stress