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Veterinaria México

Print version ISSN 0301-5092


RAMIREZ MARTINEZ, Miriam Gloria et al. Maternal behaviour around birth and mother-young recognition in Pelibuey sheep. Vet. Méx [online]. 2011, vol.42, n.1, pp.11-25. ISSN 0301-5092.

Maternal and social behavior in multiparous Pelibuey ewes was assessed under intensive production system. The social behavior was recorded several days before and during birth. Mother-young behavior during the first hour after birth was recorded. A selective maternal test was performed at 2 hours postpartum. Eight hours after birth, a double choice test was done in mothers to asses their ability to discriminate between the own or alien lamb. While a similar double choice test was performed in 12 hours-old lambs. The agitation index when the ewes were tested without companions was lower in parturient ewes than in145 days pregnant ewes and non pregnant ewes [parturient ewes: (-0.59 ± 0.9), 145 days pregnant ewes: (2.6 ± 0.7) and non pregnant ewes (4.2 ± 0.9) P < 0.05]. During the first hour after birth the latency to stand up, to begin to look for the udder and to suck was shorter in male than female lambs, also the male lambs sucked for longer time than females (P < 0.05). During this time mothers emitted more high-pitched bleats than low-pitched bleats (P < 0.05). Besides, the ewes got shorter latencies to lick the area of head and thorax of the lamb than its tail, but they licked more frequently the lamb's tail and thorax (P < 0.03). Two hours postpartum all mothers were selective, they showed clear preference to accept to the udder their own lamb and reject actively the alien ones (P < 0.05). At eight or 12 hours, mothers and lambs spent longer time watching and staying with their own familiar animal than with the alien ones (P < 0.05). It is concluded that Pelibuey ewes show an adequate maternal temperament, and the behavior of the newborn lamb could be affected because of its sex.

Keywords : maternal behavior; indoor conditions; pelibuey breed; lambs.

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