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Response of the Newly Born Clun Forest Lamb To Maternal Vocalisations

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Forty Clun Forest lambs were removed from their dams immediately after lambing and were tested singly for 30 minutes in a circular arena under one of four conditions: (1) with no stimulation, (2) in the presence of recorded low frequency, low amplitude "rumble"-type vocalisations of the kind made by the ewe from just before lambing and in caring for her lamb, (3) in the presence of a large, rectangular, white, moving object, or (4) in the presence of the same white object and of the recorded "rumbles". The results showed that righting movements were reduced and standing delayed in the lambs which heard "rumbles", whether or not they were in the presence of the moving object. For two other indices of response there was no effect of rumbles but behaviour varied with the presence or absence of the moving object: there were fewer ear movements in lambs presented with the model, as compared with those without and there was more tail-wagging in the presence of the model, than without it. Results are discussed in terms of the dam as a composite stimulus for her lamb.

Affiliations: 1: A.F.R.C., Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham, Cambridge, CB2 4AT England


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