Post–lambing maternal behaviour

Sharafeldin, M. A., and A. A. Kandeel, "Post–lambing maternal behaviour", The Journal of Agricultural Science, vol. 77, issue 01: Cambridge University Press, pp. 33-36, 1971.


A study was carried out on the post-lambing normal and abnormal maternal behaviour of sheep using 237 Barki ewes of 2, 3, 4 and 5 years of age and their newborn single lambs.
Normal maternal behaviour was observed in 64·5% of the ewes as they immediately recognized their lambs after birth, readily accepted them and started grooming and helping them to suckle. The overall average time-interval from parturition until ewes stood, started cleaning and until lambs started suckling was 2·9 ± 0·5, 4·0 ± 0·8 and 20·5 ± 2·0 min respectively. The 2-year-old ewes and the ewes weighing 30 kg and less took longer to accept and nurse their new-born lambs than older and heavier ones.
Post-lambing abnormal maternal behaviour was observed in 30·4% of the ewes, among which 43·1, 45·8 and 11·1% were classed as fair, poor and very poor mothers respectively. Fair mothers failed to nurse their lambs, poor mothers deserted them and very poor mothers permanently deserted their lambs and were aggressive to them. The post-lambing abnormal maternal behaviour was more frequent among 2-year-old maiden ewes than older ewes.