Authors: HÜLYA YALÇINTAN, ELİF ERGÜL EKİZ, BÜLENT EKİZ, ÖMÜR KOÇAK, DENİZ AKTARAN BALA, ALPER YILMAZ
Abstract: The aim was to investigate behaviors and stress responses of rams and ewes in an intensive fattening period. Out-of-breeding rams (Hemsin = 10, Karakul = 10) and ewes (Hemsin = 8, Karakul = 10) were used in the study. Sheep and rams belonging to each breed were placed into four different pens. Behavioral observations (individual, feeding, abnormal self-grooming behaviors) were performed 2 days a week for two groups a day for 1 h. Blood samples were collected at the beginning, at the 4th week, and at the end of the fattening period. Karakul ewes displayed significantly more feeding and rumination behavior than Hemsin ewes, while there was no significant difference between ram groups. Ewes displayed more lying and rumination behavior than rams in the current study. On the other hand, rams were more active than ewes and also showed more abnormal behavior (butting other animals) during the fattening period. Sheep breed had no influence on packed cell volume (PCV), hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, or cortisol level at any sampling time. PCV, Hb, and cortisol levels at the middle of the fattening period were higher in ewes than rams. In conclusion, the behavioral repertoire of Hemsin and Karakul breeds in intensive fattening does not reveal any stress responses.
Keywords: Breed effect, sex effect, behavior, fattening
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