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Taming and Training of Pregnant Sheep and Goats and of Newborn Lambs, Kids and Calves before Experimentation


David J. Mellor

Familiarity with handling and routine procedures reduces the stress experienced by pregnant ewes and nanny goats and newborn lambs, kids and calves during experimentation. The factors that need to be considered when taming and training pregnant ewes and goats include: the behavioural and physiological effects of daily handling for six to eight weeks; the impact of the progesterone/oestrogen status of ewes on their responses to taming and training; the attainment of physiological stability after surgery; and comparison of tamed and trained ewes with non-handled ewes. The factors that need to be considered for newborn lambs, kids and calves include: beneficial effects of the experimenter being part of the birth environment of lambs, kids and calves; the impact of handling on lamb responses to feeding and painful procedures; and remote sampling effects on physiological responses. The relative value of taming and training for the humane management of animals and for producing meaningful results is assessed with reference to absence of the confounding effects of stress, and, conversely, the possible confounding effects of taming and training, on the animals’ responses.