Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Factors of diversity of domestic behaviour in sheep.

Abstract

The object of this study was to compare the effects of environmental factors and breed on domestic behaviour in sheep. 467 rams and 1617 ewes were used to study environmental effects, and 2783 ewes of the Altai, Caucasian, North-East Bulgarian, Stara Zagora, East Friesian, Pleven Blackhead, improved Awassi, Askanian, Karakul and Mongolian breeds were used to study breed effects. Behaviour scores of withdrawal from humans during feeding were made on animals that had been kept off feed for 2 or 12-14 h. The effects of isolation from the herd, and change of feeding and locomotion routine were also studied. In general, withdrawal from humans was reduced by increasing food motivation. Withdrawal reactions decreased with aging, and the rate of decrease increased with increasing food motivation. Breed comparisons showed that breeds with little specialization were characterized by a high percentage (77.0-94.7) of animals of the 'wild' class; these breeds showed a high incidence of withdrawal from humans. In the specialized commercial breeds, the range of behaviour pattern was greater and the percentage of animals in the 'domestic' class was high (e.g. 86.0% in the East Friesians).