1Department of Animal Science, Abourihan Pardis, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
2Faculty of Agriculture, Payam Noor University of Bojnord, Bojnord, Iran
Receive Date: 02 October 2010,
Revise Date: 29 October 2010,
Accept Date: 05 November 2010
Twenty-four 35-day-old lambs were distributed to a completely randomized design with 3 treatments to study the effects of number of feeding buckets per pen on performance, haematology and behaviour indicators. Treatments consisted of 8 (T1), 4 (T2) or 2 (T3) feeding buckets/pen (8 lambs/pen). During the experiment, concentrate was fed at 08:30 in individual feeders. Daily dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) were recorded weekly. Blood samples were taken from all lambs at the time that animal allocated to experimental diet and at the end of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth weeks and analyzed for haematological parameters. Maintenance and social behaviours were registered based on the methods of scan sampling. Decreasing number of feeding buckets per pen resulted to low overall DMI and ADG (P<0.05). However, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and haematological parameters were not affected by treatments. As the number of feeding buckets per pen decreased, the lambs have low eating and ruminating but high walking and playing behaviour (P<0.01). Decreasing the number of feeding buckets per pen resulted in increase in the number of attempts to access occupied feeder, displacements among lambs from feed containers and occupying feeder (by two or more lambs) (P<0.01). It seems that increasing social pressure and feeding competition between lambs could result to low DMI, ADG and welfare indicators.
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