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Responses of Lambs To Model Ewes

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image of Behaviour

Life sized models of sheep were used to determine the importance of sound and movement in eliciting orientation and approach of lambs. Dalesbred and Jacob lambs were tested at 3 weeks of age with two models, one of which appeared to be grazing while the other moved its head or bleated or both bleated and moved. Lambs were tested twice; their behaviour was recorded to note 1) time of orientation to models and approach; 2) positive or negative response; 3) approach within 2 m of the models. The Dalesbred lambs ran faster than the Jacobs towards the models, and more Dalesbreds responded positively on the second test. Both breeds responded more quickly to the vocal models than to the silent models; there was no difference in time of response to moving and non-moving models. 90% lambs approached and looked at the models on the first test, 51 % responded on the second test. All lambs that responded went up close to bleating models, but not to moving models. Movement did not increase attraction and seemed to deter close investigation, whereas vocalisation made the models most attractive to the lambs.

Affiliations: 1: ARFC Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham, Cambridge CB2 4AT; 2: AFRC. Statistics Group, Department of Applied Biology, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3DX, England


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