Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress

S Hild, CCA Clark, CM Dwyer, JC Murrell, JC Mendl, AJ Zanella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The goal of this experiment was to detect if maternal care by ewes could be effective in mitigating psychological or physiological stress or pain in their offspring. We hypothesised that ewes are able to recognise when their offspring undergo an adverse experience and will adapt their maternal behaviour to buffer the effect of such events. Thirty-one pairs of 2-day-old lambs were subjected to a baseline clinical examination that consisted of measuring body temperature, bodyweight and mechanical pressure pain threshold. On day 3, physiological or psychological stress was applied to one sibling, induced by intravenous injection of LPS or social isolation for 10 min after a further baseline clinical examination, while the other twin experienced only the baseline clinical examination. On day 4, one sibling experienced pain induced by tail docking (females) or tail docking and castration (males) after the baseline clinical examination, while the other twin experienced only the clinical examination. Maternal sniffing, licking, glancing and nursing were recorded for 20 min post-treatment on each day. On day 4, pain behaviours of the treated lamb were also recorded, as well as mother–young inter-individual distances. Measures obtained on day 3 indicated no difference in maternal behaviour directed to the offspring that experienced the stress treatments compared to their twin lamb or to the same lamb on day 2. On day 4, ewes showed more attention to the lamb that had experienced the pain stimulus compared to the other twin lamb and to the same lamb on day 2. The amount of maternal behaviour observed on day 4 was positively correlated with pain behaviours expressed by the treated lamb, suggesting that the ewe was responding to the behaviour of the lamb. We cannot confirm whether the change in maternal behaviour may have buffered the effects of the painful stimuli but the possibility that such a phenomenon occurs later cannot be ruled out.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114 - 120
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume132
Publication statusFirst published - 2011

Fingerprint

Maternal Behavior
Pain
Physiological Stress
Psychological Stress
Siblings
Mothers
Social Isolation
Pain Threshold
Orchiectomy
Body Temperature
Intravenous Injections
Buffers
Nursing
Pressure
Therapeutics

Bibliographical note

WP2.4

Keywords

  • LPS
  • Lambs
  • Maternal behaviour
  • Pain
  • Welfare

Cite this

Hild, S., Clark, CCA., Dwyer, CM., Murrell, JC., Mendl, JC., & Zanella, AJ. (2011). Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 132, 114 - 120.
Hild, S ; Clark, CCA ; Dwyer, CM ; Murrell, JC ; Mendl, JC ; Zanella, AJ. / Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress. In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2011 ; Vol. 132. pp. 114 - 120.
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Hild, S, Clark, CCA, Dwyer, CM, Murrell, JC, Mendl, JC & Zanella, AJ 2011, 'Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress', Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 132, pp. 114 - 120.

Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress. / Hild, S; Clark, CCA; Dwyer, CM; Murrell, JC; Mendl, JC; Zanella, AJ.

In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 132, 2011, p. 114 - 120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress

AU - Hild, S

AU - Clark, CCA

AU - Dwyer, CM

AU - Murrell, JC

AU - Mendl, JC

AU - Zanella, AJ

N1 - WP2.4

PY - 2011

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N2 - The goal of this experiment was to detect if maternal care by ewes could be effective in mitigating psychological or physiological stress or pain in their offspring. We hypothesised that ewes are able to recognise when their offspring undergo an adverse experience and will adapt their maternal behaviour to buffer the effect of such events. Thirty-one pairs of 2-day-old lambs were subjected to a baseline clinical examination that consisted of measuring body temperature, bodyweight and mechanical pressure pain threshold. On day 3, physiological or psychological stress was applied to one sibling, induced by intravenous injection of LPS or social isolation for 10 min after a further baseline clinical examination, while the other twin experienced only the baseline clinical examination. On day 4, one sibling experienced pain induced by tail docking (females) or tail docking and castration (males) after the baseline clinical examination, while the other twin experienced only the clinical examination. Maternal sniffing, licking, glancing and nursing were recorded for 20 min post-treatment on each day. On day 4, pain behaviours of the treated lamb were also recorded, as well as mother–young inter-individual distances. Measures obtained on day 3 indicated no difference in maternal behaviour directed to the offspring that experienced the stress treatments compared to their twin lamb or to the same lamb on day 2. On day 4, ewes showed more attention to the lamb that had experienced the pain stimulus compared to the other twin lamb and to the same lamb on day 2. The amount of maternal behaviour observed on day 4 was positively correlated with pain behaviours expressed by the treated lamb, suggesting that the ewe was responding to the behaviour of the lamb. We cannot confirm whether the change in maternal behaviour may have buffered the effects of the painful stimuli but the possibility that such a phenomenon occurs later cannot be ruled out.

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KW - Maternal behaviour

KW - Pain

KW - Welfare

M3 - Article

VL - 132

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EP - 120

JO - Applied Animal Behaviour Science

JF - Applied Animal Behaviour Science

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