Skip to main content Accessibility help

Behavioural and physiological responses of sheep of different breeds to supplementary feeding, social mixing and taming, in the context of transport

  • S. J. G. Hall (a1), S. M. Kirkpatrick (a1) and D. M. Broom (a1)


Three experiments investigated differences between sheep breeds in response to supplementary feeding and very close confinement with familiar and unfamiliar sheep; and differences between individuals in response to a taming procedure prior to transport in a trailer. The first two experiments were with a mixed flock of Clun Forest lambs and crossbred lambs from Orkney. An initial tendency to feed with others of the same breed diminished over 3 weeks. Responses of heart rate and salivary cortisol concentration when one sheep (the visitor) was penned in an enclosure of 1 m2 with three other sheep of the same or the other breed (the trio group), did not depend on whether the visitor and the trio group were of the same or different breed. Clun Forest sheep showed little response while Orkney sheep showed increased heart rate and some elevation of salivary cortisol concentration. In the third experiment, 34 Beulah Speckled Face ewes were divided into two groups one of which was subjected to a taming procedure over a period of 3 weeks. Response of salivary cortisol concentration to subsequent journeys of 2h in a livestock trailer did not differ between tamed and untamed sheep. There were individual differences in the response to taming and this was correlated with the cortisol response during transport, in that those sheep which responded most to taming showed the least elevation during transport.



Hide All
Anonymous. 1995. Comments invited on implementation of EU transport rules. Veterinary Record. 137: 498499.
Arnold, G. W. and Dudzinski, M. L. 1978. Ethology of free ranging domestic animals. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Bradshaw, R. H., Hall, S. J. G. and Broom, D. M. 1996. Behavioural and cortisol response of pigs and sheep during transport. Veterinary Record. 138: 233234.
Bradshaw, R. H., Parrott, R. F., Goode, J. A., Lloyd, D. M., Rodway, R. G. and Broom, D. M. 1996. Behavioural and hormonal responses of pigs during transport: effect of mixing and duration of journey. Animal Science. 62: 547554.
Cockram, M. S., Kent, J. E., Goddard, P. J., Waran, N. K., McGilp, I. M., Jackson, R. E., Muwanga, G. M. and Prytherch, S. 1996. Effect of space allowance during transport on the behavioural and physiological responses of lambs during and after transport. Animal Science. 62: 461477.
Cooper, T. R., Trunkfield, H. R., Zanella, A. J. and Booth, W. D. 1989. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for cortisol in the saliva of man and domestic farm animals. Journal of Endocrinology 92: R13–R16.
Degaute, J. P., Cauter, E. van, Borne, P. van de and Linkowski, P. 1994. 24 hour blood pressure and heart rate profiles in humans—a twin study. Hypertension. 23: 244253.
Duncan, I. J. H., Home, A. R., Hughes, B. O. and Wood-Gush, D. G. M. 1970. The pattern of food intake in female Brown Leghorn fowls as recorded in a Skinner box. Animal Behaviour. 18: 245255.
Ewbank, R. and Kent, J. E. 1990. The behaviour of road-transported sheep. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26: 294.
Hall, S. J. G. 1986. Chillingham cattle: dominance and affinities and access to supplementary food. Ethology. 71: 201215.
Hall, S. J. G. and Bradshaw, R. H. 1998. Welfare aspects of the transport by road of sheep and pigs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 1: 235254.
Hall, S. J. G. and Clutton-Brock, J. 1988. Two hundred years of British farm livestock. British Museum of Natural History, London.
Hall, S. J. G., Schmidt, B. and Broom, D. M. 1997. Feeding behaviour and the intake of food and water by sheep after a period of deprivation lasting 14 h. Animal Science. 64: 105110.
Hanlon, A. J., Rhind, S. M., Reid, H. W., Burrells, C. and Lawrence, A. B. 1995. Effects of repeated changes in group composition on immune response, behaviour, adrenal activity and liveweight gain in farmed red deer yearlings. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 44: 5764.
Hargreaves, A. L. and Hutson, G. D. 1990a. The effect of gentling on heart rate, flight distance and aversion of sheep to a handling procedure. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 26: 243252.
Hargreaves, A. L. and Hutson, G. D. 1990b. Some effects of repeated handling on stress responses in sheep. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 26: 253265.
Helwig, J. T. and Council, K. A. 1979. SAS user's guide, 1979 edition. Statistical Analysis Systems Institute, Cary, NC.
Hohenboken, W. D. 1986. Inheritance of behavioural characteristics in livestock. A review. Animal Breeding Abstracts. 54: 623639.
Hopster, H. and Blokhuis, H. J. 1994. Validation of a heart-rate monitor for measuring a stress response in dairy cows. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 74: 465474.
Hunter, R. F. and Milner, C. 1963. The behaviour of individual, related and groups of South Country Cheviot hill sheep. Animal Behaviour. 11: 507513.
Jewell, P. A., Milner, C. and Boyd, J. M. 1974. Island survivors: the ecology of the Soay sheep of St Kilda. Athlone Press, London.
Kirschbaum, C., Wust, S., Faig, H.-G. and Hellhammer, D. H. 1992. Heritability of cortisol responses to human corticotropin-releasing hormone, ergometry, and psychological stress in humans. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 75: 15261530.
Knowles, T. G., Warriss, P. D., Brown, S. N., Kestin, S. C., Edwards, J. E., Perry, A. M., Watkins, P. E. and Phillips, A. J. 1996. Effects of feeding, watering and resting intervals on lambs transported by road and ferry to France. Veterinary Record. 139: 335339.
Lynch, J. J., Hinch, G. N. and Adams, D. B. 1992. The behaviour of sheep. Biological principles and implications for production. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
McBride, G., Arnold, G. W., Alexander, G. and Lynch, J. J. 1967. Ecological aspects of behaviour of domestic animals. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 2: 133165.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. 1982. Breeding lambs for the market—choosing a terminal sire breed. MAFF leaflet 822. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Alnwick.
Neave, H. R. and Worthington, P. L. 1988. Distribution-free tests, p. 286. Routledge, London.
Pollard, J. C., Littlejohn, R. P. and Suttie, J. M. 1993. Effects of isolation and mixing of social groups on heart rate and behaviour of red deer stags. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 38: 311322.
Romeyer, A. and Bouissou, M.-F. 1992. Assessment of fear reactions in domestic sheep, and influence of breed and rearing conditions. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 34: 93119.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed