Effects of Lambing on Behaviour and Cortisol Levels in Postparturient Ewes

Dinu Gavojdian, Evangelia Sossidou, Ludovic-Toma Cziszter
The aim of the current research was to evaluate the effects that lambing process has on major behavioural patterns and cortisol levels in multiparous Turcana ewes during the first 21 days after parturition. At 14 hours following lambing, cortisol level was 7.78±0.47 µg/dl, and decreased to 5.08±0.72 µg/dl on the 7th day of the experiment (p≤0.05), then to 2.75±0.50 µg/dl on the day 14 (p≤0.05) and to 1.61±0.43 µg/dl in the last day of experiments (p>0.05). Differences in cortisol levels between
more » ... isol levels between single and twin lambing ewes were not significant (p>0.05), suggesting that either cortisol sampling could not be used as an indicator for assessing stress caused by the additional lamb(s) in postparturient ewes, either in multiparous Turcana ewes rearing two lambs does not impose a great stress to the mothers' organism. Both the major behavioural patterns and milk cortisol levels are influenced significantly by the lambing process in multiparous ewes during first 14 days following parturition. After two weeks, time devoted to feeding, rumination and resting behaviours tend to be less influenced by the lambing process.