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Effects of providing a roof and locating food in an outside yard on behaviour of sheep kept in winter conditions Conclusion  Utilizing an outdoor yard.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of providing a roof and locating food in an outside yard on behaviour of sheep kept in winter conditions Conclusion  Utilizing an outdoor yard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of providing a roof and locating food in an outside yard on behaviour of sheep kept in winter conditions Conclusion  Utilizing an outdoor yard as part of the total area may be a cost effective way to meet new space regulations for sheep production.  We found no indicators of reduced welfare due to weather factors throughout winter.  If a dry and comfortable resting area is offered indoors, the feed should be located in the outdoor yard to ensure undisturbed resting.  A roof covering the outdoor area might be beneficial in areas with large amounts of snow and rain or in organic farms that are collecting the manure for later use. Background and aim  In Nordic countries sheep are normally housed during winter in insulated buildings with slatted floor pens and a space allowance between 0.7 and 0.9 m 2 /ewe.  New EU regulations for organic sheep production require at least 1.5 m 2 /ewe. This means that many farmers need to extend their sheep barns or reduce their herd by almost half.  The aim of this experiment was to investigate the effects of roof cover and location of feed on sheep’s use of an outdoor yard under different winter weather conditions. Materials and methods  A 2 x 2 factorial experiment was conducted with roof covering of outdoor yard (yes or no) and location of feed (indoors or outdoors) in four different pens, each with one of four possible combinations of these factors (Fig 1). Figure 1. The experimental barn and the four pens with different combinations of feed location and roof over the outdoor yard.  Four groups with five adult ewes of the Norwegian white breed were rotated between the treatment pens. Digital video recordings were performed once a week for 24 hours from November 2009 to March Results  In general, sheep spent more time in outdoor yards that were covered with a roof (Table 1).  More sheep were resting in outdoor yards that were covered with a roof compared to in yards that did not have a roof cover (Table 1).  Locating the feed outdoors increased the time spent resting indoors (Table 1).  Only resting behaviour was affected by the weather, where sheep spent less time resting during mild weather and rain (Fig 2). The longest resting times were found during cold weather with snow (Fig 2). Figure 2. Effects of weather factors on resting behaviour Poster nr. 33 Accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science 2011 Grete H.M. Jørgensen a and Knut E. Bøe b a Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, P.O. Box 34, N-8860 Tjøtta Norway b Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences UMB, P.O. box 5003, N-1432 Aas Norway Table 1. Effect of roof over outdoor yard and feed location on general activity and behavioural synchrony * <0.05 ** <0.01 *** < Mean % of tot. obs Effect of roof over yard Effect of feed location RoofNo roof Indoors Outdoor yard Resting 60.6 ± ± 1.7*** 57.7 ± ± 1.7*** - inside barn 36.3 ± ± 1.8NS 31.6 ± ± 1.5*** - outdoor yard 24.2 ± ± 1.2** 26.2 ± ± 0.7** Feeding 26.0 ± ± 1.3NS 25.3 ± ± 1.3NS Stand /walk 13.4 ± ± 0.8** 16.9 ± ± 0.7** - inside barn 6.8 ± ± 0.5** 8.2 ± ± 0.5NS - outdoor yard 6.5 ± ± 0.6** 8.7 ± ± 0.4** In outdoor yard 43.8 ± ± 1.4* 34.8 ± ± 1.2** Resting simultaneously 34.0 ± ± 1.3** 31.4 ± ± 1.3NS


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