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Social behavior in preweaning lambs and their preferences in social interactions

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The aim of this study was to investigate social behavior in preweaning lambs, especially their preferences in social interactions. A total of 30 lambs (16 Polish Milk Sheep 05 and 14 Polish Whiteheaded Mutton Sheep) were observed for 113 h 30 min during the first 2 months of their lives. Interbreed differences were insignificant both in agonistic and affiliative behavior. Males appeared to be more active both in agonistic and affiliative interactions. They also preferred other males in agonistic interactions. On the other hand, females fought more often with males, than with females. Lambs of both breeds preferred individuals of their own breed as partners in affliative behaviors. Twins preferred most their siblings in affliliative interactions and usually did not attack and fight with them. This study shows that sex and breed can influence social preferences in preweaning lambs.
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Keywords: affiliative behavior; agonistic behavior; ruminant; sheep; social preference

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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