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Title: Alpaca Field Behaviour When Cohabitating with Lambing Ewes
Contributor(s): Matthews, Paige T (author); Barwick, Jamie  (author)orcid ; Doughty, Amanda K  (author); Doyle, Emma K  (author)orcid ; Morton, Christine L  (author)orcid ; Brown, Wendy Y  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2020
Early Online Version: 2020-09-09
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.3390/ani10091605
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A common strategy to reduce predator attack on livestock is the deployment of guardian alpacas. However, little research has been conducted on the behaviour of this species while housed with other livestock. This study monitored two male alpacas cohabitating with 180 lambing ewes in order to quantify field behaviour in two phases. Phase one assessed diurnal patterns of alpacas and lambing ewes using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) collars recording data over 41 days, in combination with observational recordings. Phase two developed an alpaca behavioural ethogram through continuous observations from 05:30 to 19:30 h over a 3-day period. The two alpacas shared similar behaviours with commonality of distance travelled, and both species exhibited an increase in activity level based on speed between the times of 05:00 and 17:00 h. The GNSS data indicated that the alpacas flocked with the ewes at night sharing the same resting location, however, would spend time during the day on the outskirts of the paddock. Alpacas were observed to spend the majority of the observation period in two behavioural states: grazing (57%) and resting (27%). As a result of this study we were able to catalogue a range and frequency of field behaviours which alpacas exhibit while cohabitating with lambing ewes. However, further research is needed to determine in more detail how these behaviours correspond with the effectiveness of this species as a livestock guardian.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animals, 10(9), p. 1-18
Publisher: MDPI AG
Place of Publication: Switzerland
ISSN: 2076-2615
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070203 Animal Management
060801 Animal Behaviour
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300302 Animal management
310901 Animal behaviour
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830307 Minor Livestock (e.g. Alpacas, Ostriches, Crocodiles, Farmed Rabbits)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100408 Minor livestock (e.g. alpacas, ostriches, crocodiles, farmed rabbits)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science
School of Science and Technology

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