1. bookVolume 14 (2014): Issue 2 (April 2014)
Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Open Access

Determinants Of Dominance, Resting Place And Neighbour Preferences In Wrzosówka Polska Ewes Kept Indoors

Published Online: 25 Apr 2014
Volume & Issue: Volume 14 (2014) - Issue 2 (April 2014)
Page range: 365 - 375
Received: 07 Feb 2013
Accepted: 30 Aug 2013
Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

The aim of this study was to recognize features determining social hierarchy in Wrzosówka Polska ewes kept indoors as well as to investigate their resting place and companionship preferences. Observations (156 hours in total) were carried out in a group of 22 ewes. The social rank of sheep was determined by their age, body weight and length of horns. Social position was positively correlated with aggressive behaviour performed and negatively with aggressive behaviour received. Use of space while resting was influenced by ewe social behaviour; aggressive individuals lied more often in attractive places, namely against walls and fodder troughs compared to other animals. In general, the ewes rested by having physical contact with animals of similar rank and aggressiveness. Kinship appeared not to be important in neighbour preference. As can be concluded, social interactions influenced the use of space and neighbourhood in ewes


Altmann J. (1974). Observational study of behavior: sampling methods. Behaviour, 49: 227-267.Search in Google Scholar

Arnold G.W., Maller R.A. (1974). Some aspects of competition between sheep for supplementary feed. Anim. Prod., 19: 309-319.Search in Google Scholar

Baranowski P. (1998). Chosen imported and native breeds and varieties of sheep - history of their origin (in Polish). Akademia Rolniczaw Szczecinie, Szczecin, Poland, 29 pp.Search in Google Scholar

Barroso F.G., Alados C.L., Boza J. (2000). Social hierarchy in the domestic goat: Effect on food habits and production. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 69: 35-53.Search in Google Scholar

Beilharz R.G., Zeeb K. (1982). Social dominance in dairy cattle. Appl. Anim. Ethol., 8: 79-97.Search in Google Scholar

Bennett B. (1986). Social dominance in female bighorn sheep. Zoo Biol., 5: 21-26.Search in Google Scholar

Bøe K.E., Andersen I.L. (2010). Competition, activity budget and feed intake of ewes when reducing the feed space. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 125: 109-114.Search in Google Scholar

Bøe K.E., Berg S., Andersen I.L. (2006). Resting behaviour and displacements in ewes - effects of reduced lying space and pen shape. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 98: 249-259.Search in Google Scholar

Bon R., Dardaillon M., Estevez I. (1993). Mating and lambing periods as related to age of female mouflon. J. Mammal., 74: 752-757.Search in Google Scholar

Chrupek D., Groberek J., Niżnikowski R., Brzostowski H., Strzelec E., Popie- larczyk D., Marciniec M. (2006). Characteristic of Polish heath sheep grazing behaviour on fallow lands during vegetative period, concerning pasturage time and weather conditions. Arch. Tierzucht, 49 (SI): 353-358.Search in Google Scholar

Clutton- Brock T.H., Pemberton J.M., Coulson T., Stevenson I.R., Mac Coll A.D.C. (2004). The sheep of St Kilda. In: Soay sheep. Dynamics and selection in an island population, Clutton- -Brock TH., Pemberton J.M. (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 17-51.Search in Google Scholar

Clutton- Brock T.H., Price O.F., Albon S.B., Jewell P.A. (1992). Early development and population fluctuations in Soay sheep. J. Anim. Ecol., 61: 381-396.Search in Google Scholar

Côté S.D. (2000). Dominance hierarchies in female mountain goats: stability, aggressiveness and determinants of rank. Behaviour, 137: 1541-1566.Search in Google Scholar

Dove H., Beilharz R.G., Black J. (1974). Dominance patterns and positional behaviour of sheep in yards. Anim. Prod., 19: 157-168.Search in Google Scholar

Dýrmundsson Ó.R., Niznikowski R. (2010). North European short-tailed breeds of sheep: a review. Animal, 4: 1275-1282.Eccles T.R., Shackleton D.M. (1986). Correlates and consequences of social status in female bighorn sheep. Anim. Behav., 34: 1392-1401.Search in Google Scholar

Erhard H.W., Fàbrega E., Stanworth G., Elston D. (2004). Assessing dominance in sheep inacompetitive situation: level of motivation and test duration. Appl. Anim. Behav Sci., 85: 277-292.Search in Google Scholar

Færevik G., Andersen I.L., Bøe K.E. (2005). Preference of sheep for different types of pen flooring. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 90: 265-276.Search in Google Scholar

Favre M., Martin J.G.A., Festa- Bianchet M. (2008). Determinants and life-history consequences of social dominance in bighorn ewes. Anim. Behav., 76: 1373-1380.Search in Google Scholar

Festa- Bianchet M. (1988). Age-specific reproduction of bighorn ewes in Alberta, Canada. Can. J. Mammal., 69: 157-60.Search in Google Scholar

Festa- Bianchet M. (1991). The social system of bighorn sheep: grouping patterns, kinship and female dominance rank. Anim. Behav., 42: 71-82.Search in Google Scholar

Geist V. (1971). Mountain sheep:astudy in behavior and evolution. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA, 383 pp.Search in Google Scholar

Górecki M.T. (2004). Hierarchy inagroup of domestic goat (Capra hircus) females. EJPAU, 7, 2.Search in Google Scholar

Gräser - Hermann Ch., Sambraus H.H. (2001). The social behaviour of East Friesian dairy sheep in larger groups. Arch. Tierzucht, 44: 421-433.Search in Google Scholar

Guilhem C., Bideau E., Gerard J.F., Maublanc M.L. (2000). Agonistic and proximity patterns in enclosed mouflon (Ovis gmelini) ewes in relation to age, reproductive status and kinship. Behav. Processes, 50: 101-112.Search in Google Scholar

Guilhem C., Gerard J.F., Bideau E. (2002). Rank acquisition through birth order in mouflon sheep (Ovis gmelini) ewes. Ethology, 108: 63-73.Search in Google Scholar

Hass C.C. (1991). Social status in female bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis): expression, development and reproductive correlates. J. Zool. Lond., 225: 509-523.Search in Google Scholar

Hinch G.N., Lynch J.J., Elwin R.L., Green G.C. (1990). Long term associations between Merino ewes and their offspring. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 27: 93-103.Search in Google Scholar

Jørgensen G.H.M., Andersen I.L., Bøe K.E. (2009). The effect of different pen partition configurations on the behaviour of sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 119: 66-70.Search in Google Scholar

Lawrence A.B. (1990). Mother-daughter and peer relationships of Scottish hill sheep. Anim. Behav., 39: 481-486.Search in Google Scholar

Lobato J.F.P., Beilharz R.G. (1979). Relation of social dominance and body size to intake of supplements in grazing sheep. Appl. Anim. Ethol., 5: 233-239.Search in Google Scholar

Locati M., Lovari S. (1991). Clues for dominance in female chamois: age, weight, or horn size? Agg. Behav., 17: 11-15.Search in Google Scholar

Lynch J.J., Hinch G.N., Adams D.B. (1992). The behaviour of sheep: biological principles and implications for production. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, 237 pp.Search in Google Scholar

Lynch J.J., Wood - Gush D.G.M., Davies H.I. (1985). Aggression and nearest neighbours in a flock of Scottish Blackface ewes. Biol. Behav., 10: 215-225.Search in Google Scholar

Marsden M.D., Wood - Gush D.G.M. (1986). The use of space by group housed sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 15, p. 178.10.1016/0168-1591(86)90064-XSearch in Google Scholar

Niżnikowski R., Popielarczyk D., Strzelec E., Brudka G. (2007). Level of reproduction traits of highly-prolific Polish Heath sheep used in the rare breeds conservation program (in Polish). Ann. UMCS EE, 25: 109-117. Search in Google Scholar

Preston B.T., Stevenson I.R., Pemberton J.M., Coltman D.W., Wilson K. (2003). Overt and covert competition inapromiscuous mammal: the importance of weaponry and testes size to male reproductive success. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, 270: 633-640.Search in Google Scholar

Pretorius P.S. (1970). Effect of aggressive behaviour on production and reproduction in the Angora goat (Capra hircus Angoraensis). Agroanimalia, 2: 161-164.Search in Google Scholar

Sambraus H.H. (1971). The social behaviour of domesticated goats (in German). Z. Säugetierkunde, 36: 220-224.Search in Google Scholar

Sambraus H.H. (1975). Observations and reflections on the social order of cattle (in German). Züchtungskunde, 47: 8-14.Search in Google Scholar

Shank C.C. (1972). Some aspects of social behaviour inapopulation of feral goats. Z. Tierpsychol., 30: 488-528.Sherwin C.M., Johnson K.G. (1987). The influence of social factors on the use of shade by sheep. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 18: 143-155.10.1016/0168-1591(87)90188-2Search in Google Scholar

Stevenson I.R., Marrow P., Preston B.T., Pemberton J.M., Wilson K. (2004). Adaptive reproductive strategies. In: Soay sheep. Dynamics and selection in an island population, Clutton- Brock TH., Pemberton J.M. (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 243-275.Search in Google Scholar

Stolba A., Hinch G.N., Lynch J.J., Adams D.B., Munro R.K., Davies H.I. (1990). Social organization of Merino sheep of different ages, sex and family structure. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 8: 243-252.Search in Google Scholar

Synnot A.L., Fulkerson W.J. (1984). Influence of social interactions between rams on their serving capacity. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 11: 283-289.Search in Google Scholar

Sztych D., Sierańska B. (1994). Post-parturient behaviour of ewes and lambs of Heath Sheep (in Polish). Zesz. Nauk. PTZ, 13: 117-124.Search in Google Scholar

Van Dierendonck M.C.,de Vries H., Schilder M.B.H., Colenbrander B., Þorh - allsdóttir A.G., Sigurjónsdóttir H. (2009). Interventions in social behaviour inaherd of mares and geldings. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 116: 67-73.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo