- Volume 31 Issue 12
DOI QR Code
The effect of nutrition and body condition of triplet-bearing ewes during late pregnancy on the behaviour of ewes and lambs
- Gronqvist, Gabriella V. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University) ;
- Corner-Thomas, Rene A. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University) ;
- Kenyon, Paul R. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University) ;
- Stafford, Kevin J. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University) ;
- Morris, Stephen T. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University) ;
- Hickson, Rebecca E. (International Sheep Research Centre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University)
- Received : 2017.12.08
- Accepted : 2018.03.13
- Published : 2018.12.01
Objective: Triplet-born lambs are less likely to survive to weaning than twin-born or single-born lambs. Appropriate ewe-lamb bonding behaviours and lamb vigour behaviours are necessary for survival of lambs. The aim of this experiment was to determine whether maternal nutrition during late pregnancy influenced behaviour of the ewe and her lambs soon after birth, and to determine whether mid-pregnancy body condition score (BCS) influenced any behavioural response. Methods: The experiments included ewes that were in BCS 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0 in mid-pregnancy and were fed either ad libitum or to pregnancy-maintenance requirements in late-pregnancy (day 115 until 136 in experiment one, and day 128 until 141 in experiment two). The time taken for lambs to stand, contact dam, suck from dam and follow dam was recorded three to 18 h after birth. The number of high- and low-pitched bleats emitted by the ewe and lambs was recorded, along with maternal behaviour score (MBS) of the ewe. Lambs in experiment two underwent a maternal-recognition test at 12 or 24 h. Results: There were significant effects of feeding treatment on bleating behaviour of ewes and lambs, but these were inconsistent among BCS groups and between experiments. Lamb vigour behaviours were not affected by feeding treatment. In experiment one, there was no effect of feeding treatment or BCS on MBS, but in experiment two, ewes in BCS3 in mid-pregnancy had greater MBS than ewes in BCS2 in mid-pregnancy (MBS 3.1/5 vs MBS 2.1/5; p<0.05). Conclusion: Given there were no repeatable effects on behaviour of ewes and lambs, ad libitum feeding rather than feeding for pregnancy-maintenance requirements cannot be used to improve behaviours soon after birth of triplet-bearing ewes in BCS 2-3 and their lambs in extensive pastoral conditions.
Triplet Lambs;Late Pregnancy Nutrition;Body Condition Score;Ewe and Lamb Behaviour;Vocalisation
Supported by : Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Massey University
- Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service. Lamb crop 2017 [Internet]. Wellington, New Zealand: Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service: 2017 [cited 2018 March 8]. Available from: https://beeflambnz.com/sites/default/files/data/files/Lamb_Crop_Report_2017.PDF
- Amer PR, McEwan JC, Dodds KG, Davis GH. Economic values for ewe prolificacy and lamb survival in New Zealand sheep. Livest Prod Sci 1999;58:75-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0301-6226(98)00192-4
- Kerslake JI, Everett-Hincks JM, Campbell AW. Lamb survival: a new examination of an old problem. Proc NZ Soc Anim Prod 2005;65:13-8.
- Mellor DJ, Stafford KJ. Animal welfare implications of neonatal mortality and morbidity in farm animals. Vet J 2004;168:118-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2003.08.004
- Rattray PV, Garrett WN, East NE, Hinman N. Growth, development and composition of the ovine conceptus and mammary gland during pregnancy. J Anim Sci 1974;38:613-26. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1974.383613x
- Kenyon PR, Stafford KJ, Jenkinson CMC, Morris ST, West DM. The body composition and metabolic status of twinand triplet-bearing ewes and their fetuses in late pregnancy. Livest Sci 2007;107:103-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2006.09.006
- Morris ST, Kenyon PR. The effect of litter size and sward height on ewe and lamb performance. NZ J Agric Res 2004;47:275-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288233.2004.9513596
- Kenyon PR, Morris ST, Hickson RE, Stafford KJ, West DM. Nutritional restriction of triplet-bearing ewes and body condition score has minimal impacts. NZ J Agric Res 2012;55:359-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288233.2012.720264
- Kenyon PR, Morris ST, Hickson RE, et al. The effects of body condition score and nutrition of triplet-bearing ewes in late pregnancy. Small Rumin Res 2013;113:154-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2013.02.005
- Kenyon PR, Maloney SK, Blache D. Review of sheep body condition score in relation to production characteristics. NZ J Agric Res 2014;57:38-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288233.2013.857698
- Vonnahme KA, Neville TL, Perry GA, et al. Maternal dietary intake alters organ mass and endocrine and metabolic profiles in pregnant ewe lambs. Anim Reprod Sci 2013;141:131-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2013.07.010
- Nowak R. Lamb's bleats: important for the establishment of the mother-young bond? Behaviour 1990;115:14-29. https://doi.org/10.1163/156853990X00275
- Nowak R. Neonatal survival: contributions from behavioural studies in sheep. Appl Anim Behav Sci 1996;49:61-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(95)00668-0
- Poindron P, Caba M, Arrati PG, Krehbiel D, Beyer C. Responses of maternal and non-maternal ewes to social and motheryoung separation. Behav Processes 1994;31:97-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/0376-6357(94)90039-6
- Gronqvist GV, Hickson RE, Corner-Thomas RA, et al. The effect of ewe nutrition and body condition during late-pregnancy on the behaviour of twin-bearing ewes and their lambs. Small Rumin Res 2016;145:94-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2016.10.029
- Dwyer CM, McLean KA, Deans LA, et al. Vocalisations between mother and young in sheep: effects of breed and maternal experience. Appl Anim Behav Sci 1998;58:105-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1591(97)00113-5
- Corner RA, Kenyon PR, Stafford KJ, et al. The effects of pasture availability for twin- and triplet-bearing ewes in mid and late pregnancy on ewe and lamb behaviour 12 to 24 h after birth. Animal 2010;4:108-15. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731109990899
- Dwyer CM, Lawrence AB. A review of the behavioural and physiological adaptations of hill and lowland breeds of sheep that favour lamb survival. Appl Anim Behav Sci 2005;92:235-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2005.05.010
- Corner RA, Kenyon PR, Stafford KJ, West DM, Morris ST. The effect of nutrition during pregnancy on the behaviour of adolescent ewes and their lamb(s) within 12 hrs of birth. Proc NZ Soc Anim Prod 2006;66:439-443.
- Dwyer CM, Lawrence AB, Bishop SC, Lewis M. Ewe-lamb bonding behaviours at birth are affected by maternal undernutrition in pregnancy. Br J Nut 2003;89:123-36. https://doi.org/10.1079/BJN2002743
- Everett-Hincks JM, Blair HT, Stafford KJ, et al. The effect of pasture allowance fed to twin- and triplet-bearing ewes in late pregnancy on ewe and lamb behaviour and performance to weaning. Livest Prod Sci 2005;97:253-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livprodsci.2005.05.006
- Munoz C, Carson AF, McCoy MA, et al. Effect of plane of nutrition of 1- and 2-year-old ewes in early and mid-pregnancy on ewe reproduction and offspring performance up to weaning. Animal 2009;3:657-69. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731109003917
- Nicol AM, Brookes IM. The metabolisable energy requirements of grazing livestock. Pasture and supplements for grazing animals. New Zealand Society of Animal Production; 2007.
- Somasiri SC, Kenyon PR, Kemp PD, Morel PCH, Morris ST. Effect of herb-clover mixes of plantain and chicory on yearling lamb production in the early spring period. Anim Prod Sci 2015;56:1662-8.
- Jefferies B. Body condition scoring and its use in management. Tasmanian J Agric 1961;32:19-21.
- Corner RA, Kenyon PR, Stafford KJ, West DM, Morris ST. Does the ewe nutrition during pregnancy affect the behaviour of ewe lambs at 1 and 2 years of age? Proc NZ Soc Anim Prod 2005;65:29-32.
- O'Connor CE, Jay NP, Nicol AM, Beatson PR. Ewe maternal behaviour score and lamb survival. Proc NZ Soc Anim Prod 1985;45:159-62.
- Nowak R, Poindron P, Le Neindre P, Putu IG. Ability of 12-hourold Merino and crossbred lambs to recognise their mothers. Appl Anim Behav Sci 1987;17:263-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(87)90151-1
- Nowak R, Poindron P, Putu IG. Development of mother discrimination by single and multiple newborn lambs. Dev Psychobiol 1989;22:833-45. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.420220807
- Shillito E, Alexander G. Mutual recognition amongst ewes and lambs of four breeds of sheep (Ovis aries). Appl Anim Ethol 1975;1:151-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3762(75)90084-X