Assessment of stress in relation to sheep shearing by using behavioural and physiological measurements

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Hygiene, Management and Zoonoses, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Beni-suef University, Beni-Suef 62511, Egypt.


This study was carried out in Sids Agricultural Research Station belonging to Animal Production Research Institute in Beni-Suef governorate on a total number of forty apparently healthy ewe lambs with average weight of 28±0.5 kg to clarify the effect of shearing as a stressor on comfort, feeding and social behaviour and blood cortisol level. Ewe lambs were divided into three groups, the first one (n=10) is shorn at spring, the second (n=10) is shorn in autumn and the third (n=20) is kept as a control. Results showed that there was no significant difference in patterns of comfort behaviour between shorn and unshorn ewes except for grooming behaviour which was significantly (p < 0.01) increased in shorn than unshorn groups. Blood cortisol level was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in ewes shorn in spring and autumn at time of shearing (zero minute) than pre-treatment (-20 minutes) and post-treatment time (3 hours following shearing). So the cortisol measurements is a useful indicator of short-term stresses from handling or husbandry procedures such as shearing.


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