Differences in ewe and wether behavior when bonded to cattle

TitleDifferences in ewe and wether behavior when bonded to cattle
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsAnderson D.M., Estell RE, Havstad K, Shupe, W. Larry, Libeau R., Murray L.W
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Date Published1996
Accession NumberJRN00207
ARIS Log Number074523
Keywordscattle, grazing, predation, sheep, social grouping

Under mixed stocking, both intra- and inter-species associations exist. Sheep normally do not associate with cattle when the two species are grazed together. However, sheep can be made to consistently stay close to (bond) and follow cattle if forced in close association with cattle at an early age for a period of time. The cohesiveness of this inter-species association under free-ranging conditions varies due to many factors, including sheep gender. Bonded wethers stay nearer to cattle than do bonded ewes. However, the distance of separation between bonded sheep groups and cattle groups during grazing increases over time. Though the mechanism(s) for these phenomena are not presently understood, keeping a few bonded wethers with bonded ewes may enhance the establishment and maintenance of consistently coherent range flerds (flocks + herds).