Maternal behaviour of Awassi sheep and behaviour of thelambs during the first hour after parturition


Abstract: Data from sixty-one 2-5-year-old Awassi ewes (38 single and 23 twin births) were evaluated in order to determine behaviour at parturition and the following first hour. Observations were subjected to Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk tests, Pearson-s chi-square test, independent samples t-test, and ANOVA. The Awassi sheep exhibited sniffing action after parturition as the initial behaviour, choosing the back part of the lamb. First licking and sniffing times were found to decrease with maternal age; calculated average data for these characteristics were 138.3 - 15.39 and 118.3 - 26.48 s for singlets, and 147.7 - 15.12 and 123.6 - 29.54 s for twins, respectively (P < 0.05). Total mean licking time was found to be 27.9 - 0.81 min in single births and 26.2 - 0.90 min in twin births. The mean first successful standing-up time was determined to be 23.2 - 1.83 min in single births, 21.1 - 1.63 min in the firstborn twin, and 20.2 - 2.96 min in the second-born twin (P < 0.05). In the same order, the average suckling time of lambs was specified as 34.3 - 2.27 min, 34.3 - 2.50 min, and 29.2 - 3.70 min (P < 0.05), respectively. In conclusion, Awassi ewes showed good maternal behaviour and encouraged their lambs in standing up and suckling.

Keywords: Awassi sheep, maternal behaviour, lamb behaviour

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