Measurement of an indicator of Sheep Temperament based on Recording Movement within a Commercial Weighing Crate


  • Brian Horton
  • Karen Pirlot
  • Dale Miller


\"This study investigates the development of a practical system for temperament assessment in sheep on-farm using currently available weighing technology. Most commercial livestock scales are capable of recording multiple weights per second, which are normally used to obtain an average weight. The movement of a sheep within a weighing crate can be measured by this continuous liveweight recording system using the coefficient of variation (CV) of the weight measured over 5 to 20 seconds. Calmer sheep were defined as those exhibiting lower CV measurements. The repeatability of these measurements was 0.52 to 0.59 (p<0.1%) in adult sheep, and was increased with greater experience of the weighing process. Movement scores at 6 to 7 months of age were highly repeatable and lamb scores at 7 months were correlated (p<1%) with their damÂ’s score. The calmest sheep exhibited higher liveweight, improved maternal behaviour, and increased lamb survival (p<5%).\"