Effects of Litter Size on Maternal – Offspring Interactions in Sheep

Dinu Gavojdian

Abstract


The aim of the current research was to evaluate the effects that litter size (single vs. twin born lambs) has on maternal – offspring interactions in Turcana mountain sheep breed during the first 4 weeks after lambing. Behavioural patterns such as dam – lamb(s) contact, suckling (duration and periods) and vocalization frequency were studied. During first 24 hours after lambing, ewes spend on average 40.9±3.15 minutes in close contact with their lambs, while the following weeks they have spent significantly (p≤0.05) less time in contact with the lambs i.e. 20.6±3.17 in day 7, 16.8±2.15 in day 14 and 14.5±1.26 minutes in day 21. Litter size had no significant effect (p≥0.05) on the frequency of vocalizations or the time spent in contact with their lamb(s) in Turcana ewes. Results of the current research shown that litter size in multiparous Turcana mountain sheep breed had limited effects on the ewe-lamb interactions. The experienced ewes, based on the excellent mothering ability and strong maternal instincts, can rear with minimal stress twin litters when winter lambing occurs indoors and under proper management. Further comparative studies are planned in order to study the effects of triplet births and parity on maternal-offspring interactions in Turcana ewes.


Keywords


lamb time-budget; litter size; post-parturient ewes; sheep behaviour; Turcana breed

Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c)


Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies publish open access articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (read full legal code).


LUCRARI STIINTIFICE ZOOTEHNIE SI BIOTEHNOLOGII (SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ANIMAL SCIENCE AND BIOTECHNOLOGIES)

ISSN print 1841 - 9364
ISSN online 2344 - 4576
ISSN-L  1841 - 9364
(former ISSN 1221-5287, E-ISSN 1841-9364)

PUBLISHER: AGROPRINT Timisoara, Romania
PAPER ACCESS: Full text articles available for free
FREQUENCY: Semiannual
PUBLICATION LANGUAGE: English
_________________________________________________________________

Banat´s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
Faculty of Animal Science and Biotechnologies
300645, Timişoara, Calea Aradului 119, Romania

E-mail: spasb [at] animalsci-tm.ro
Phone: +40-256-277160, Fax.: +40-256-277110