The Role of Temperament over the Maternal Selectivity Behaviour in Primiparous Dairy Sheep

Institute of Agricultural Science, BG - 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria


PEEVA, Zh. H., 2009. The role of temperament over the maternal selectivity behavior in primiparous dairy sheep. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 15: 583-588

The aim of this study was to investigate the role of temperament over the selective maternal behaviour in primiparous dairy sheep by means of the test „Selectivity towards alien and own lamb”. The test has been carried out in the individual cage, where the dam and young(s) were normally reared until the 7th day after birth, for five minutes per each lamb (alien first and own). The data of the following primiparous animals were used: 11 Calm (C) and 13 Nervous (N). The number of animals in each temperament group were selected according to the following criterion: type of lambing (single, twins); date of lambing ±10 days. The following parameters were recorded: Latency to aggressiveness; Aggressiveness frequency; Access to the udder; Time spent to the udder; Withdrawing from lamb; High-pitch and low pitch bleats and their latencies; Temperament was assessed in all 250 dairy ewes of the breed “Synthetic Bulgarian Dairy Population” from the experimental flock at the Research Institute of Agricultural Science (Stara Zagora), by different methods. The most typical animals of the C and N types were used. It was established that the temperament influenced the maternal selectivity behavior and reactivity toward alien and own lambs in primiparous dairy sheep. The sheep of C temperament demonstrated stable maternal selectivity behavior toward alien and own lambs. The lambing stress at the first parity caused significant negative effect on the maternal selective behavior in the animals of N temperament. They showed a hesitation in recognition between alien and own lamb, which was a sign of higher fear susceptibility compared to this of C temperament.

Key words: maternal selectivity behavior, temperament, primiparous dairy sheep

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