Next Article in Journal
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Animals in 2017
Previous Article in Journal
An Indication of Reliability of the Two-Level Approach of the AWIN Welfare Assessment Protocol for Horses
Previous Article in Special Issue
Animal-Based Measures to Assess the Welfare of Extensively Managed Ewes
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Animals 2018, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010008

Using Longitudinal Assessment on Extensively Managed Ewes to Quantify Welfare Compromise and Risks

1
Animal Welfare Science Centre, The University of Melbourne, North Melbourne, VIC 3051, Australia
2
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, The University of Melbourne, Werribee, VIC 3030, Australia
3
Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 1 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology in Animals' Management, Health and Welfare)
Full-Text   |   PDF [373 KB, uploaded 8 January 2018]   |  

Abstract

This study examined variation in the welfare of extensively managed ewes and potential welfare risks. A total of 100 Merino ewes (aged 2–4 years) were individually identified and examined at three key stages: pregnancy, lactation and weaning. Eight animal-based welfare measures were used to assess welfare: flight distance, body condition score (BCS), fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score, lameness and mastitis. Data were analysed by ANOVA and McNemar’s statistics. Overall, the average BCS of the group was in agreement with industry recommendations. However, a number of animals were classified with inadequate condition (either too thin or too fat) across the three observation periods. The presence of heavy dags was greatest at mid-lactation (87%, P < 0.0001), lameness was greatest at weaning (14%, P = 0.01), clinical mastitis was 1% annually, and five ewes were lost from the study. Ewes had better health at mid-pregnancy compared to mid-lactation and weaning. The main welfare issues identified were under and over feeding, ewe mortality, lameness, ecto-parasites (flystrike) and mastitis, all of which have the potential to be reduced with improved management practices. Future welfare assessment programs must consider that significant variation in on-farm welfare will occur in extensively managed systems and this needs to be accounted for when evaluating farms. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal-based indicators; animal welfare; on-farm welfare assessment; sheep animal-based indicators; animal welfare; on-farm welfare assessment; sheep
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Munoz, C.; Campbell, A.; Barber, S.; Hemsworth, P.; Doyle, R. Using Longitudinal Assessment on Extensively Managed Ewes to Quantify Welfare Compromise and Risks. Animals 2018, 8, 8.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top