The study analyzed the effect of using sawdust, cellulose, straw, and rice husk bedding on the welfare, performance and meat quality of lambs during the finishing phase of fattening. Ninety-six lambs (fed ad libitum with concentrate) were assigned to pens containing 1 of 4 bedding materials in groups of 12 for 14days. Live weight and feed consumption were recorded to estimate daily gain and conversion index, and carcass and meat quality variables were measured. Stereotypies, exploratory interactions with bedding material, and agonistic and affiliative interactions between animals were recorded by continuous sampling techniques using video recording. The substrates affected behavior and stress response variables. There were more stereotypies and agonistic interactions at the beginning of the experiment in all treatments (. P ≤ 0.05). The lambs fattened on cellulose bedding interacted more with the substrate throughout the finishing stage (. P ≤ 0.05), where there were also more affiliative interactions (. P ≤ 0.05). Stress levels were lower in lambs on straw, followed by cellulose. No significant differences in production or carcass and meat quality traits were observed between treatments. The results suggest that all substrates evaluated could be efficiently incorporated into the system as bedding material without affecting productivity or product quality.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2015|
- Bedding substrates
- Meat quality
- Social behaviors