Exposure to humans after weaning does not reduce the behavioural reactivity of extensively reared Merino lambs

Leigh Atkinson, Rebecca E. Doyle, Andrew Woodward, Ellen C. Jongman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Human-directed fear in extensively reared sheep is often high due to the aversive nature of common husbandry procedures and infrequent interactions with humans. This study investigated whether additional human exposure provided to weaned lambs reduced human-directed fear and behavioural reactivity. Ninety Merino lambs were either exposed to low or moderately stressful human exposure sessions, or had no additional human contact, and their fear responses and behavioural reactivity to humans, a startle stimulus and confinement were tested. Overall, the imposed interventions did not reduce behavioural reactivity during these tests, suggesting fear towards humans had not been altered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104709
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume201
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

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