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Prevalence and Incidence of Abnormal Behaviours in Individually Housed Sheep.

Lauber M, Nash JA, Gatt A, Hemsworth PH - Animals (Basel) (2012)

Bottom Line: Seventy-one percent of the sheep displayed one or more of the behaviours of pacing, and chewing and nosing pen fixtures for more than 10% of the day and 47% displayed one or more of these behaviours for more than 20% of the day.The prevalence and incidence of these 'abnormal' behaviours appears high, especially in relation to that of sheep grazed outdoors on pasture, and raises the question of the welfare risk to these animals.However, without a more comprehensive appreciation of other aspects of the animal's biology, such as stress physiology and fitness characteristics, it is difficult to understand the welfare implications of these behaviours.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Welfare Science Centre, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. Mariko.Lauber@dpi.vic.gov.au.

ABSTRACT
This study examined the prevalence and incidence of abnormal behaviour in sheep housed individually indoors. Ninety-six castrated Merino sheep were observed using 15-min instantaneous sampling between 08:15 and 18:15 h for two consecutive days over a 3-week period. Sheep on average spent 62% of their time idle, 17% feeding, 1% drinking, 5% pacing, 10% chewing pen fixtures and 4% nosing pen fixtures. Pacing behaviour was predominantly seen in the morning with sheep on average spending 14% of their time pacing. Sheep on average spent 4% of their time in the morning and 13% of their time in the afternoon chewing pen fixtures. In the afternoon, the predominant behaviour was idle with sheep on average spending 71% of their time idle. Seventy-one percent of the sheep displayed one or more of the behaviours of pacing, and chewing and nosing pen fixtures for more than 10% of the day and 47% displayed one or more of these behaviours for more than 20% of the day. The prevalence and incidence of these 'abnormal' behaviours appears high, especially in relation to that of sheep grazed outdoors on pasture, and raises the question of the welfare risk to these animals. However, without a more comprehensive appreciation of other aspects of the animal's biology, such as stress physiology and fitness characteristics, it is difficult to understand the welfare implications of these behaviours.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Histogram showing the distribution of time that sheep spent pacing in the 30 min prior to feeding.
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animals-02-00027-f003: Histogram showing the distribution of time that sheep spent pacing in the 30 min prior to feeding.

Mentions: Over the two observation days from 08:15 to 18:15 h, 67 sheep (71.3% of the sheep) displayed one or more abnormal behaviours for more than 10% of the time and 44 sheep (46.8%) displayed one or more of these abnormal behaviours for more than 20% of the time (Figure 2). While the display of abnormal behaviour was most pronounced before and after feeding, the data indicate that the abnormal behaviours were still prominent in the afternoon, well after feeding (Figure 3). Several authors have argued that the welfare of the animal is at risk if stereotypies occur for 10% of the animal's waking life [6] and if they occur in more than 5% of all animals [7]. Therefore, on this basis one could argue that the welfare of the sheep in this individual-housing system is compromised. However, this is premature without a closer analysis and consideration of the data.


Prevalence and Incidence of Abnormal Behaviours in Individually Housed Sheep.

Lauber M, Nash JA, Gatt A, Hemsworth PH - Animals (Basel) (2012)

Histogram showing the distribution of time that sheep spent pacing in the 30 min prior to feeding.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494269&req=5

animals-02-00027-f003: Histogram showing the distribution of time that sheep spent pacing in the 30 min prior to feeding.
Mentions: Over the two observation days from 08:15 to 18:15 h, 67 sheep (71.3% of the sheep) displayed one or more abnormal behaviours for more than 10% of the time and 44 sheep (46.8%) displayed one or more of these abnormal behaviours for more than 20% of the time (Figure 2). While the display of abnormal behaviour was most pronounced before and after feeding, the data indicate that the abnormal behaviours were still prominent in the afternoon, well after feeding (Figure 3). Several authors have argued that the welfare of the animal is at risk if stereotypies occur for 10% of the animal's waking life [6] and if they occur in more than 5% of all animals [7]. Therefore, on this basis one could argue that the welfare of the sheep in this individual-housing system is compromised. However, this is premature without a closer analysis and consideration of the data.

Bottom Line: Seventy-one percent of the sheep displayed one or more of the behaviours of pacing, and chewing and nosing pen fixtures for more than 10% of the day and 47% displayed one or more of these behaviours for more than 20% of the day.The prevalence and incidence of these 'abnormal' behaviours appears high, especially in relation to that of sheep grazed outdoors on pasture, and raises the question of the welfare risk to these animals.However, without a more comprehensive appreciation of other aspects of the animal's biology, such as stress physiology and fitness characteristics, it is difficult to understand the welfare implications of these behaviours.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Animal Welfare Science Centre, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. Mariko.Lauber@dpi.vic.gov.au.

ABSTRACT
This study examined the prevalence and incidence of abnormal behaviour in sheep housed individually indoors. Ninety-six castrated Merino sheep were observed using 15-min instantaneous sampling between 08:15 and 18:15 h for two consecutive days over a 3-week period. Sheep on average spent 62% of their time idle, 17% feeding, 1% drinking, 5% pacing, 10% chewing pen fixtures and 4% nosing pen fixtures. Pacing behaviour was predominantly seen in the morning with sheep on average spending 14% of their time pacing. Sheep on average spent 4% of their time in the morning and 13% of their time in the afternoon chewing pen fixtures. In the afternoon, the predominant behaviour was idle with sheep on average spending 71% of their time idle. Seventy-one percent of the sheep displayed one or more of the behaviours of pacing, and chewing and nosing pen fixtures for more than 10% of the day and 47% displayed one or more of these behaviours for more than 20% of the day. The prevalence and incidence of these 'abnormal' behaviours appears high, especially in relation to that of sheep grazed outdoors on pasture, and raises the question of the welfare risk to these animals. However, without a more comprehensive appreciation of other aspects of the animal's biology, such as stress physiology and fitness characteristics, it is difficult to understand the welfare implications of these behaviours.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus