The behavioural responses of sheep to the food deprivation associated with transport
Jackson, Rachel Elizabeth
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Until recently, little has been known about the potential effects of transport on the welfare of sheep. One important factor in the transportation process is the withholding of food for long periods of time. This program of work was undertaken to obtain information on the effect of food deprivation on sheep in terms of changes in behaviour, blood biochemistry and feeding motivation.Chapter 2 investigates the behavioural responses of sheep to food deprivation of up to 24h. Changes in behaviour during deprivation suggest that sheep were actively seeking food.hapter 3 investigated the effect of elevated temperature on the behaviour and physiology of sheep deprived of food for 24h at space allowances similar to those used for the commercial transportation of sheep. Evidence of fasting was found during treatment. Post-treatment there was an increase in feeding and evidence that the sheep became dehydrated as they fed.Chapters 4, 5 and 6 investigated three aspects of transport, the provision of a period of lairage during a journey, and the effects of familiarity of post-transport housing and an additional period of food deprivation following a journey on the behavioural responses of sheep. The provision of a period of lairage facilitated posttreatment recovery, reducing the changes in liveweight during the treatment period and shortening the length of time for behaviour to return to pre-treatment levels. Changes in diet and environment post-transport were found to affect the behaviour of the sheep. Withholding food after 15h transport was associated with an increase in food-seeking behaviour which decreased after food was provided.Chapter 7 investigated the feeding motivation of sheep after 6h-24h without food. There was an increase in feeding motivation after 6h without food which was reduced by providing food.