Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life

Date:
July 1, 2014
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
New research has found that a sheep's experiences soon after birth can shape its later behavior and also that of its offspring. Scientists investigated whether early-life experiences can alter behavioral responses to a naturally painful event in adulthood -- giving birth -- and also affect behavior of the next generation.

Lamb. New research has found that a sheep's experiences soon after birth can shape its later behaviour and also that of its offspring. (stock image)
Credit: Pixel Memoirs / Fotolia

New research has found that a sheep's experiences soon after birth can shape its later behaviour and also that of its offspring.

Related Articles


The study led by academics from the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences and published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters investigated whether early-life experiences can alter behavioural responses to a naturally painful event in adulthood -- giving birth -- and also affect behaviour of the next generation.

The period following birth can be a challenging time for young lambs. They are usually tail-docked without analgesia as a preventative measure to reduce the chances of flies laying eggs on dirty tails, and they may also experience bacterial infections such as 'joint ill' or 'navel ill'. However, the long-term consequences of these early life challenges are not well understood.

The research team found that female sheep that had their tails docked or experienced a mild simulated infection shortly after they were born, showed more pain-related behaviour when giving birth to their own first lambs than did females who had not had these early-life experiences.

Furthermore, the lambs of those mothers who had experienced a mild infection in early life were less sensitive to pain during the first few days of their lives than were other lambs.

The study's findings highlight the impact that events during the period after birth can have on an animal in later life and the researchers suggest that variations in the management of early life health and husbandry conditions can have important long-term implications for animal health and welfare.

Mike Mendl, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare in the School of Veterinary Sciences, said: "Our study suggests that infection and tail-docking during the first few days of life may have long-term effects on an individual's development and behaviour, and on that of her own offspring.

"Further work is needed to establish the robustness of these findings, to identify potential underlying mechanisms, and to help inform husbandry practices to enhance animal health and welfare."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Clark, J. Murrell, M. Fernyhough, T. O'Rourke, M. Mendl. Long-term and trans-generational effects of neonatal experience on sheep behaviour. Biology Letters, 2014; 10 (7): 20140273 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0273

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701193257.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2014, July 1). A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701193257.htm
University of Bristol. "A sheep's early life experiences can shape behavior in later life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701193257.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kenya President Sets Fire to 15 Tonnes of Elephant Ivory

Kenya President Sets Fire to 15 Tonnes of Elephant Ivory

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to a giant pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory Tuesday, vowing to destroy the country&apos;s entire stockpile of illegal tusks by the year&apos;s end. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins