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Leadership and dominance relationships in Merino and Border Leicester sheep

Authors
Journal
Applied Animal Ethology
0304-3762
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
1
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0304-3762(75)90019-x

Abstract

Abstract The position of individual sheep in moving flocks of 20 Merino and 20 Border Leicester sheep was recorded automatically on 35 occasions over a 10-day period. In both breeds there were sheep which were always among the leaders and there was a definite ordering among the followers. Fewer sheep shared the lead among Merinos than among Border Leicesters. Sub-grouping of the Border Leicester flock accounted for the greater inconsistency in movement order; Merinos always moved as a single flock. Dominance-subordination relationships were assessed on one occasion for each breed separately by creating competition for space at a self-feeder. Among Merinos, the dominance hierarchy was almost linear but Border Leicesters were less rigidly structured. The correlation between position in a moving flock and social dominance was high.

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