Effects of Time Spent Near Mothers Postpartum on the Behaviour of Ewes and Lambs; and on the Growth Performance of Lambs in Karayaka Sheep


Abstract: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of post-partum separation of lambs from their mothers for various periods of time on the behaviour of lambs and ewe, lamb mortality, and lamb growth. Forty-seven Karayaka ewes that had given birth within the past month and their 61 lambs were used. Ewes and their offspring were allocated into three groups. In the first group (control), lambs were always kept with their mothers. In the second and third groups, lambs were kept with their mothers for 6 hours and 1 hour, respectively, and separated from their mothers for 12-16 hours. At the end, they were when the lambs were brought back to their mothers, the numbers of bleating of lambs and ewes, the amount of time lambs took to find their mothers, live weight of the lambs until weaning and lamb mortality were determined. The results obtained from the study show that the number of bleating of lambs and ewes increased, the time spent to find the mother increased, live weight at weaning and live weight gain until weaning decreased and lamb mortality increased with the decline in the time spent with the mother post-partum. These results show that the time spent with mother at parturition affects the establishment of a strong bond between ewe and her offspring.

Keywords: Bond between ewe and lamb, behaviour, lamb fattening, mortality

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