Author(s): Nenadović Katarina, Karać Petar, Vučinić Marijana, Teodorović Radislava, Živanov Dragan, Trailović Ružica, Beckei Zsolt, Janković Ljiljana
Keywords:animal welfare, AWIN, ewes, animal-based measurements
In the Balkan region, the state of sheep welfare is little known. In this context, the assessment of sheep welfare is important for the identification of health and behavioral problems that affect these animals, along with the deficiencies present in the environment. The study was conducted during the winter season on a farm of 220 autochthonous breed Vlašićka Zackel sheep reared in extensive systems on the mountain regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A total of 65 ewes, aged 2–4 years, were observed. The welfare assessment was performed according to the AWIN protocol for sheep. The authors found the following issues: dry ewes were significantly fat (p<0.001) in regard to pregnant and lactation ewes; 42.11% of pregnant ewes were thin while 31.25% of dry ewes were fat; most of the assessed animals (78.46%) had dry or damp, slightly soiled fleece; 32.31% of animals had lesions on face/muzzle while ocular discharge, respiratory problems, mild mastitis and minor lameness were present in 16.92%, 4.62%, 15.38% and 7.69% sheep, respectively. All animals showed a negative relationship with humans. Using this methodology, the welfare problems in animals may be detected, and thus certain segments in the production cycle may be improved. The on-farm welfare assessment is highly recommended for emphasizing the key points in improving sheep welfare in Balkan countries.
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