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Animals 2018, 8(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010002

Animal-Based Measures to Assess the Welfare of Extensively Managed Ewes

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
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 24 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotechnology in Animals' Management, Health and Welfare)
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Abstract

The reliability and feasibility of 10 animal-based measures of ewe welfare were examined for use in extensive sheep production systems. Measures were: Body condition score (BCS), rumen fill, fleece cleanliness, fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score, foot-wall integrity, hoof overgrowth and lameness, and all were examined on 100 Merino ewes (aged 2–4 years) during mid-pregnancy, mid-lactation and weaning by a pool of nine trained observers. The measures of BCS, fleece condition, skin lesions, tail length, dag score and lameness were deemed to be reliable and feasible. All had good observer agreement, as determined by the percentage of agreement, Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W) and Kappa (k) values. When combined, these nutritional and health measures provide a snapshot of the current welfare status of ewes, as well as evidencing previous or potential welfare issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal-based indicators; animal welfare; kappa statistics; observer agreement; on-farm welfare assessment; sheep animal-based indicators; animal welfare; kappa statistics; observer agreement; on-farm welfare assessment; sheep
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Munoz, C.; Campbell, A.; Hemsworth, P.; Doyle, R. Animal-Based Measures to Assess the Welfare of Extensively Managed Ewes. Animals 2018, 8, 2.

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