Circadian Activity of Dairy Ewes Kept Indoors / Aktywność dobowa maciorek mlecznych utrzymywanych w chowie alkierzowym

Agata Kiełtyka-Kurc 1 , Joanna Rydel-Gigauri 1  and Marcin T. Górecki 1
  • 1 Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland

Abstract

The aim of this study was to characterize the activity of Polish Milk Sheep 05 ewes housed in the indoor system. One group of 28 animals was observed. The observations lasted 227 hours and were conducted during day and night. The activity of each ewe was recorded every 10 minutes. The observed sheep rested for most of the day. Their activity increased at dawn, during milking (and feeding) and after green forage was provided in the afternoon. The time of feeding was mostly dependent on human activities. Rumination always occurred after the feed was offered. Sheep mainly slept lying down after milking and at night. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep was observed. There were statistically significant (P≤0.05) differences in individual forms of behaviour (moving, standing, lying, feeding and ruminating) between different times of the day. In conclusion, the activity pattern of the indoor-housed ewes resembled that of pastured ruminants, but it was also strongly influenced by farm staff (milking, feeding, etc.).

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