A Review: Understanding sheep behaviour, a key to more efficient and profitable lamb and wool production

TitleA Review: Understanding sheep behaviour, a key to more efficient and profitable lamb and wool production
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsHulet, Clarence V.
JournalSID Research Journal
Volume5
Pagination26-33
Date Published1989
Keywordsbehavior, management, production, sheep
Abstract

A knowledge of sheep behavior can help to improve production efficiency. Flocking instinct and social attachments provide methods to improve the efficiency of managing sheep through bonding to cattle to reduce loss to predation and minimize stress at weaning. Characteristics of sheep movement behavior have contributed to the design of efficient sheep-working facilities and management systems. Cattle, sheep and goats are complementary in transforming the range resource into red meat and fiber. Grazing behavior and diet learning are leading to improved forage utilization and range management. Periodic exposure of rams to ewes increases testes size, fertility and libido. Exposure of ewes, previously isolated from males, to rams during the transitional period between the non breeding and breeding season can initiate early breeding and fall lambs. Ewe lambs are shy breeders and should be mated separately from mature ewes. Orphan lambs can be fostered to ewes with extra milk utilizing odor transfer techniques resulting in higher and more efficient lamb production. Stress management can improve rate of gain following weaning and in feedlot lambs.

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