Stress and behavioural responses to winter shearing differ between pregnant and non-pregnant ewes

Publication date: Available online 16 August 2019Source: Physiology &BehaviorAuthor(s): Rodolfo Ungerfeld, Aline Freitas-de-MeloAbstractHigh progesterone concentrations reduce the stress responses in several mammals. Therefore, it may be expected that pregnant ewes have lower responses to stressors than anoestrous ewes. Our aims were to compare the stress response and the behavioural changes of pregnant and non-pregnant ewes sheared during winter. Two trials were with 20 were pregnant (group PR) and 17 non-pregnant ewes (group NP). In the first trial blood samples were collected immediately before and during the first 180 min after shearing, and cortisol, total protein, and albumin concentrations were measured, and globulin concentrations were calculated. In the second trial, the frequency in which each ewe was observed standing, lying down, walking and grazing were recorded from Day −3 to Day −1 (Day 0 = shearing), from Day 1 to Day 5, on Days 13 and 20–21 during 8 h/day. Scan observations were done every 10 min from 8:00 h to 12:00 h and from 14:00 h to 18:00 h (total = 50 recordings.day). Non-pregnant ewes had greater cortisol concentrations than PR ewes (P = .007). Non-pregnant ewes also had greater total protein concentrations than PR ewes (P = .029). Albumin concentration tended to be greater in NP than PR ewes (P = .064). Globulin concentration 30 min after shearing was greater in PR than in NP ewes (P = .04...
Source: Physiology and Behavior - Category: Physiology Source Type: research

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