Temperament and maternal behavior of Corriedale and Pollwarth sheep and its relation with lamb's survival

The trial was conducted at the Experimental Station of Embrapa, Bagé, RS, from March 2005 to February 2006, and aimed to evaluate the maternal behavior and temperament of ewes and their lambs and related them with lamb's survival. Forty-seven Corriedale ewes with mean body weight of 52.1kg and 45 Pollwarth ewes with mean body weight of 49.5kg were used, according to a completely randomized design. Temperament was evaluated through maternal behaviour score (MBS), flight time test (score and quantitative) and flight distance. Corriedale ewes presented larger values for flight time score than Pollwarth ewes. Corriedale lambs were heavier and a greater number survived than Pollwarth lambs. Sheep breed did not affect maternal score. Ewes considered reactive (MBS=1, those who run away and did not come back to stay with their lamb) seek less isolation from the herd at parturition, protected less their lambs, weaned them earlier and lighter than less reactive ewes. Reactivity decreased maternal care of ewes with its lambs, and this characteristic might be considered by productive systems.

lambs; maternal behavior; survival; temperament


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