Some Factors Affecting Resting Behaviour of Sheep in Slaughterhouse Lairages After Transport from Farms
The resting behaviour of 64 groups of sheep was observed in the lairages of two slaughterhouses after transport for about four hours in a commercial livestock transporter. The sheep were scanned at five minute intervals for the initial three hours in the lairage pen. The median percentage of time spent lying per group was 17 per cent (range 1 to 63). The percentage of time spent lying was not significantly related to the duration of transport, time of arrival or slaughterhouse. There was a significant positive relationship between space allowance (range 0.22 to 0.98 m2 per sheep) and percentage of time spent lying per group (P<0.001). Increased space allowance also tended to be associated with a decrease in the occurrence of all interactions between the sheep (P = 0.05). Groups penned with two unfamiliar groups tended to spend less time lying than those penned on their own or with one other group (P = 0.07). There was no significant difference in the total percentage of time spent lying by groups penned on slats and those penned on straw. The results indicated that the ability of sheep to rest in the lairage may be compromised by providing low space allowances.
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