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Revista Ceres

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MADELLA-OLIVEIRA, Aparecida de Fátima; BASTOS, Rosemary  and  QUIRINO, Célia Raquel. Nursing and sucking behaviour in buffalos in relation to lactation period, age and calf sex. Rev. Ceres [online]. 2010, vol.57, n.2, pp.211-217. ISSN 0034-737X.

The objectives of the present study were to investigate the frequency and duration of nursing behaviour in female buffalos during the lactation period and the types of suckling behaviour in relation to age and calf sex. Thirty-five females with their calves were observed during three consecutive days in each month, over a period of nine months. The nursing behaviour was characterized as isolated filial nursing (IFN); collective filial nursing (CFN) and nonfilial nursing (NFN). The suckling behaviour was classified as isolated filial suckling (IFS); collective filial suckling on their own mothers (CFS 1); collective filial suckling on other females (CFS2) and nonfilial suckling (NFS). Data were analyzed by analysis of variance and means were compared by the Tukey test considering P<0,05. IFN showed frequency and duration higher than the other types of the nursing (P<0,05), with predominance in almost all period of lactation.The frequency of IFS was high mainly in the first month and the duration of IFS was higher than other types of suckling until the fifth month (P<0,05) In relation to calf sex, no significant differences (P>0,05) were found for the means of frequency and duration of the types of sucking. The results show that the buffalo females have larger innate aptitude for IFN in relation to the other types of nursing during almost all the lactation period. The calves are more dependent on IFS during the first five months and the calf sex did not influence the types of suckling behaviour.

Keywords : Allonursing; duration; frequency; Bubalus bubalis.

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