Assessment of Welfare, Functional Parameters of the Udder, Milk Productive and Reproductive Traits in Dairy Ewes of Different Temperament

I. DIMITROV-IVANOV and M. DJORBINEVA
Institute of Cattle and Sheep Husbandry, BG-6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Abstract

DIMITROV-IVANOV, I. and M. DJORBINEVA, 2003. Assessment of welfare, functional parameters of the udder, milk productive and reproductive traits in dairy ewes of different temperament. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 9: 707–711

The relationships between temperament and functional parameters of the udder, milk productive, and reproductive traits of dairy ewes were examined. The temperament and welfare were assessed by the following methods: Tests in milking parlor in 370 ewes; Fearinducing (Surprise test), Open Field and Learning tests (Novelty-Food motivation Learning). On the base of a complex score (CS) three temperaments distinguishing significantly (P < 0.001) were established: Calm, Nervous and Intermediate. High coefficients of repeatability of the temperament in two consecutive years and by different observers in ewes of different ages were determined (r from 0.5 to 0.97, P < 0.001). It is statistically proved (P < 0.05) that the calm ewes produced more milk by machine milking than nervous through the whole machine-milking period. It was also established that most of the functional parameters of the udder in nervous ewes differed in comparison with those of calm ones. The biggest contrast was found in the parameter milk ejection latency, P < 0.001. The fertility between calm and nervous ewes was significantly different (P < 0.05) at the age of three years.

Key words: welfare, temperament, milk production, reproduction, dairy ewes