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Dam parity and calf sex affect maternal and neonatal behaviors during the first week postpartum in stabled Maghrebi dairy camels

Abstract : Currently, a trend toward the commercialization of dromedary milk associated with recent intensive rearing systemshas startingworldwide which impose constraints on animals affecting their behavioral repertoiresandwelfare status. The aimof this study was to investigate the effects of damparity and calf sex on parturition, neonatal, and maternal behaviors in stabled Maghrebi dairy camels (Camelus dromedarius). Thirty-six (primiparas N= 10; multiparas N= 26) periparturient femaleswere kept under video surveillance using a digital IR camera and 24-h sessionswere chosen to assess calving, maternal, and neonatal behaviors in calving pens. Duration of restlessness, process of giving birth, and expulsion of fetal membranes were assessed. After first suckling, dams and their calves were moved into an individual enclosure to assess maternal behavior at 12 h, 24 h, 48 h, 72 h, and 7d postpartum. Behaviorwas assessed using a camcorder for 30min after 1 h of young separation in an adjacent enclosure. Results showed an effect of parity on the duration of the birth process which was longer for primiparous thanmultiparous camels (P= 0.034). During this stage, primiparous females tended to raise their tails more often (P= 0.054) and spentmore time standing (P= 0.001) than multiparous camels. Neonatal behaviorwas affected by calf sex. Female newborns took less time to raise their heads (P= 0.041) andtostandup(P= 0.048) for the first time and were the earliest to suckle their dams (P= 0.032). Multiparous dams stood up sooner (P= 0.019) after calving and suckled their calves earlier (P= 0.043) than primiparous dams. They emittedmore bleats and exhibitedmore sniffing during the firstweek postpartumthan primiparas. During the first postpartumweek, both primiparas and multiparas showed a decrease in the total number of bleats (P < 0.001), low-pitch bleats (P < 0.001), and high-pitch bleats (P< 0.001), in sniffing frequency (P< 0.001) and sniffing duration (P < 0.001). This is the first study to describe in detail the calving, maternal, and neonatal behaviors of dromedary camels and to show the influence of parity and calf sex. Maternal care toward the newborn calf exhibited by a high level of bleating and sniffing activities in the first 2 days suggest that they play an important role in the establishment ofmother-young relationship. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 18, 2021 - 12:33:33 PM
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I Hammadi, M Chniter, M Atigui, M Brahmi, M Seddik, et al.. Dam parity and calf sex affect maternal and neonatal behaviors during the first week postpartum in stabled Maghrebi dairy camels. Animal, Published by Elsevier (since 2021) / Cambridge University Press (until 2020), 2021, 15 (3), pp.1-8. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2020.100149⟩. ⟨hal-03382810⟩

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