Articles | Volume 51, issue 3
10 Oct 2008
 | 10 Oct 2008

The effect of temperament on weight gain of Hungarian Merino, German Merino and German Blackhead lambs

F. Pajor, A. Szentléleki, E. Láczó, J. Tőzsér, and P. Póti

Abstract. We evaluated temperament of sheep using two temperament tests: temperament score test and flight test. Temperament score test: behaviour of animals was assessed in a 5-score system while weighing, spending 30 s on the scale. Flight time test: the time taken by an animal to move a set distance (1.7 m) after exiting a weighing scale into an open yard. 10 rams, 22 ewes Hungarian Merino, 13 rams, 19 ewes German Merino and 12 rams, 16 ewes German Blackhead lambs were lot-fed on 49 days, after weaning. The temperament score test was not related to the weight at weaning, therefore the measurement of the temperament was not affected by the weaning process (P>0.10). The gender not affected the temperament scores in either of observations or genotypes. In this investigation German Blackhead lambs were calmer, than Hungarian Merino lambs. The evaluation of the effects of temperament (temperament score test [TS] and flight time test [FT]) on body weight showed that lambs with calm temperament had higher weight at the end of fattening (TS: 44.88 kg and FT: 42.37 kg) and higher average daily weight gain as well (TS: 492.18 g/day and FT: 430.03 g/day), compared to nervous animals (TS: 36.20 kg and 330.08 g/day, P<0.001; FT: 36.73 kg and 345.77 g/day, P<0.05). The lambs with good temperament had better fattening performance (higher weight at end of fattening, faster weight gain) than nervous lambs.