The aim of this study was to analyze the lamb's choice of bedding material when 4 different types of bedding materials and cement floor (CT) area were available during the fattening period. A total of 16 lambs were selected and distributed in 2 groups of 8 lambs each and fattened for 18 days. The animals were housed randomly in 1 of 2 pens that were subdivided into 5 areas. Four of these areas had 1 of the 4 types of flooring: sawdust (SU), waste of paper (WP), straw (ST), and rice husk (RH), whereas the fifth had a CT, opposite the feeding and drinking troughs. A video-recording device was set up in a room close to the pens to record maintenance behavior. Two kinds of recording were carried out: scan sampling every 10 minutes (7 am-9 pm) throughout the entire experiment, and continuous behavior sampling recorded continuously for 12 h/d (8 am-8 pm) on days 1, 7, and 14 (a total of 36 h/pen). The behavior patterns recorded during the experiment included lying down, standing, walking, feeding, and drinking. The occupancy rates for the different bedding areas were significantly different (P ≤ 0.001), and the lambs demonstrated a clear preference for SU bed, with a 47% occupancy rate, followed by WP (17%), ST, and RH, with occupancy rates of nearly 6% and 7%, respectively. The occupancy rate in the area with no bedding material (CT) was 21%. Significant differences were also found in behavior patterns between the bedding zones. When the lambs on the SU bedding were observed, 80% of the time they were lying down and 20% of the time standing. When they occupied the WP area, they spent 63% of the time lying down and 37% standing; for the ST bedding, the rates were 23% lying down and 77% standing; and when the lambs were observed in the area with RH flooring, they spent 40% of the time lying down and 60% standing. The clear preference shown by the lambs for SU may be associated to the SU's physical and thermal properties compared with ST. If all factors are taken into account (cost, animal preferences, and technical performance), WP bedding becomes a interesting material as an alternative to the ST bedding traditionally used by sheep farmers. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research|
|Publication status||Published - May 2013|
- Bedding choice
- Bedding materials
- Maintenance behaviors