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Type: Journal article
Title: Facilities, breed and experience affect ease of sheep handling: the livestock transporter's perspective
Author: Burnard, C.
Pitchford, W.
Hocking Edwards, J.
Hazel, S.
Citation: Animal: the international journal of animal biosciences, 2015; 9(8):1379-1385
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1751-7311
Statement of
C. L. Burnard, W. S. Pitchford, J. E. Hocking Edwards and S. J. Hazel
Abstract: An understanding of the perceived importance of a variety of factors affecting the ease of handling of sheep and the interactions between these factors is valuable in improving profitability and welfare of the livestock. Many factors may contribute to animal behaviour during handling, and traditionally these factors have been assessed in isolation under experimental conditions. A human social component to this phenomenon also exists. The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of a variety of factors affecting ease of handling, and the interactions between these from the perspective of the livestock transporter. Qualitative interviews were used to investigate the factors affecting sheep behaviour during handling. Interview transcripts underwent thematic analysis. Livestock transporters discussed the effects of attitudes and behaviours towards sheep, helpers, facilities, distractions, environment, dogs and a variety of sheep factors including breed, preparation, experience and sex on sheep behaviour during handling. Transporters demonstrated care and empathy and stated that patience and experience were key factors determining how a person might deal with difficult sheep. Livestock transporters strongly believed facilities (ramps and yards) had the greatest impact, followed by sheep experience (naivety of the sheep to handling and transport) and breed. Transporters also discussed the effects of distractions, time of day, weather, dogs, other people, sheep preparation, body condition and sheep sex on ease of handling. The concept of individual sheep temperament was indirectly expressed.
Keywords: ovine; husbandry; qualitative; interview; behaviour
Description: Published online: 15 April 2015
Rights: © The Animal Consortium 2015
DOI: 10.1017/S1751731115000543
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications
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