Effect of early weaning on behavior of weaned lambs

TÖLÜ C., Çendik C., Yazgan N., AKBAĞ H. I., YURTMAN İ. Y., SAVAŞ T.

III International and XII National Animal Science Conference, Bursa, Turkey, 27 November 2021, vol.1, pp.296-299

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Bursa
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.296-299
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


This study was carried out to determine the effects of different weaning age on the behavioral characteristics of Tahirova sheep lambs at weaning. A total of 60 twin lambs, 30 females and 30 males, were used in the study. The lambs were randomly divided into 3 groups of 20 each. Lambs born within 5 days were suddenly weaned at 4 weeks (Group 1), 8 weeks (Group 2) and 12 weeks (Group 3). The mothers and their lambs, which were separated during the daytime hours (08:00-17:00) were brought together in the evening, then milking took place after 1 week of age. The creep feeding system was applied at night to the mother and their lambs were housed in side-by-side paddocks. Behavior observations were made by two observers between 17:00 and 18:00 from the day of weaning the lambs in each group. Observations were made by the continuous observation method for one hour on the day of weaning and the following 7 days. Significant differences were observed in the behavior of lambs during the weaning period, according to the groups (P≤0.05). The frequency of bleating, resting, playing, interest in the side compartment, stereotype, scratching and drinking behavior were found to be statistically significant between groups (P≤0.05). The frequency of bleating, abnormal stereotypes and sexual interaction behavior were found to be statistically significant compared to the lambs’ gender (P≤0.05). While bleating and stereotype behaviors were higher in female lambs, sexual interaction was higher in male lambs (P≤0.05). As a result, it can be said that Group 1, weaned earlier than the other groups, experienced more stress than the other groups. In addition, female lambs seem to have experienced more stress than male lambs during the weaning period.

Keywords: Tahirova, bleating, resting, stereotype, drinking

This work was supported by Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, The Scientific Research Coordination Unit, Project number FBA- 2020-3204.