Mother–young bonding in prolific D’man and Romanov sheep

Mother–young bonding in prolific D’man and Romanov sheep The effect of prolificacy on mother–young mutual recognition is still largely unknown in sheep. The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of prolific ewes to develop an exclusive bond with their neonate and to recognize each other from alien subjects. Observations were performed on 11 D’man and 16 Romanov ewes with, respectively, 19 and 37 of their lambs. Maternal selectivity was tested at 24 h postpartum during two consecutive periods of 3 min. All mothers accepted their own lambs at suckling, while 21 out of 27 (78%) rejected the alien, thus displaying mostly selective nursing. To assess mother–young recognition, a two-choice test was performed at 36 h postpartum. Ewes clearly preferred their own lambs to an alien lamb and behavioral differences were not found between mothers of small (singletons and twins) and large litters (triplets and quadruplets). Romanov ewes reached their own lambsmore rapidly and spent more time near them than D’man ewes. Lambs from small litters, in particular light lambs, clearly preferred their mothers to an alien dam; however, both light and heavy lambs in large litters did not discriminate between the two stimulus ewes. D’man lambs clearly preferred their mothers to an alien dam; in contrast, such a preference was not as clearly demonstrated in Romanov lambs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ethology Springer Journals

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Publisher
Springer Japan
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan KK
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology; Behavioral Sciences; Animal Ecology; Evolutionary Biology
ISSN
0289-0771
eISSN
1439-5444
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10164-017-0521-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The effect of prolificacy on mother–young mutual recognition is still largely unknown in sheep. The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of prolific ewes to develop an exclusive bond with their neonate and to recognize each other from alien subjects. Observations were performed on 11 D’man and 16 Romanov ewes with, respectively, 19 and 37 of their lambs. Maternal selectivity was tested at 24 h postpartum during two consecutive periods of 3 min. All mothers accepted their own lambs at suckling, while 21 out of 27 (78%) rejected the alien, thus displaying mostly selective nursing. To assess mother–young recognition, a two-choice test was performed at 36 h postpartum. Ewes clearly preferred their own lambs to an alien lamb and behavioral differences were not found between mothers of small (singletons and twins) and large litters (triplets and quadruplets). Romanov ewes reached their own lambsmore rapidly and spent more time near them than D’man ewes. Lambs from small litters, in particular light lambs, clearly preferred their mothers to an alien dam; however, both light and heavy lambs in large litters did not discriminate between the two stimulus ewes. D’man lambs clearly preferred their mothers to an alien dam; in contrast, such a preference was not as clearly demonstrated in Romanov lambs.

Journal

Journal of EthologySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 14, 2017

References

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