Welfare implications of artificial rearing and early weaning in sheep

Soon after parturition a lasting and mutual ewe-lamb bond is established. However, in an increasing number of intensive sheep farms, lambs are separated from the dam at an early age. When artificial rearing is applied lambs are often kept with mothers for 2 days to allow the ingestion of maternal colostrum and then abruptly removed […]

Lambs prevented from suckling their mothers display behavioral, immune and endocrine disturbances

The aim of the experiment was to assess the effects of either maternal deprivation or prevented suckling on lambs. Thirty Comisana lambs were assigned to a control dam-suckled group (DS) and two test groups of 10 each. Test lambs were maintained with their mothers 24 to 30 h after parturition and subsequently offered ewe milk […]

Effect of pre-weaning temporary isolation within different age periods on the early post-weaning behaviour of juvenile lambs

Temporary maternal separation is a stressful situation typical under modern husbandry practices and may have an undesirable impact on lamb welfare. However, at present there is insufficient evidence on temporary maternal separation effects on the behaviour of juvenile lambs. The aim of the present study was to assess if and how partial isolation during different […]

Mobile abattoir versus conventional slaughterhouse—Impact on stress parameters and meat quality characteristics in Norwegian lambs

The aim of the present study was to investigate possible differences in certain stress parameters and meat quality characteristics between Norwegian lambs slaughtered at a mobile abattoir (at two different localities) versus lambs slaughtered at a conventional, stationary slaughterhouse. Lambs slaughtered at the conventional slaughterhouse had higher serum cortisol levels than lambs slaughtered at a […]

A comparison of handling methods relevant to the religious slaughter of sheep

Legislation governing non-stun slaughter of sheep in England requires that they are individually and mechanically restrained for slaughter and not moved for at least 20 s post neck cut, until unconsciousness or insensibility occurs. Complying with the need for individual handling, in what is a flock animal, has the potential to adversely affect welfare, in […]

Filial attachment in sheep: Similarities and differences between ewe-lamb and human-lamb relationships

Animals develop relationships with intra- and interspecific partners, including humans. In some cases this can lead to strong emotional bonds indicating the existence of attachment. The sheep is well known to develop various forms of social attachment (mothers towards young, lambs towards siblings). The relationship they can develop with humans is much less understood. In […]

Effect of different types of housing on behavior of Malpura lambs during winter in semi-arid tropical environment

During winter, different types of sheds were constructed to reduce lamb mortality. A study was conducted to assess the effect of different types of housing on the behavior of Malpura lambs during the winter in semiarid tropical condition in terms of suckling, feeding, lying, standing, social interaction, and oral stereotype. Sheds are constructed to reduce […]

Lambs show changes in ear posture when experiencing pain

Ear posture, or the frequency of postural changes, may reflect various emotional states of animals. In adult sheep (Ovis aries), the ‘forward’ ear posture has been associated with negative experiences whereas the ‘plane’ posture has been associated with positive ones. This study aimed to see whether ear postures related to the experience of pain in […]

Positive perception of human stroking by lambs: Qualitative behaviour assessment confirms previous interpretation of quantitative data

Qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA) was used to validate previous published interpretation whether human stroking has beneficial effects on lambs prematurely separated from their mothers. For a period of 8 weeks a familiar human (FH) subjected 22 Romane lambs to a gentling treatment based on strokes. At the age of 8 weeks each lamb was placed […]

Validation of scan sampling techniques for behavioural observations of pastured lambs

The study of farm animal behaviour is a critical tool for assessing animal welfare. Collecting behavioural data with continuous sampling or short scan sampling intervals (eg every 60th second) is considered ideal as this provides the most complete and accurate dataset; however, these methods are also time and labour intensive. Longer sampling intervals provide an […]