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Effects of feeding, watering and resting intervals on lambs transported by road and ferry to France
  1. T. G. Knowles, BSc, PhD1,
  2. P. D. Warriss, BSc, PhD, MIBiol1,
  3. S. N. Brown, MIBiol1,
  4. S. C. Kestin, BSc1,
  5. J. E. Edwards, MRIPHH1,
  6. A. M. Perry, HND1,
  7. P. E. Watkins, MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, DVR1 and
  8. A. J. Phillips1
  1. 1 School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS 18 7DY


Three lorry loads, each of approximately 530 lambs, were monitored during August 1994 while they were transported from the Midlands to France. Each lorry underwent a similar journey, designed to study the effects of a) 22 hours on a lorry broken by two hours of feed, water and rest after 15 hours, b) 34 hours on a lorry broken by eight hours of feed, water and rest after 24 hours and c) 24 hours on a lorry and lairage for the following 48 hours. Measurements were made on 180 lambs in each load, of liveweight, plasma betahydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), urea, total protein, albumin, osmolality, creatine kinase (CK), cortisol and glucose, before, during and after transport. Twenty-four hours of transport resulted in changes in some of the variables measured that were little different from those observed after 24 hours of feed and water deprivation; however, the high ambient temperatures during the transport resulted in a greater degree of dehydration. For journeys longer than 15 hours a two-hour rest in lairage with access to water and a palatable food source was beneficial in allowing some slight recovery. Although all the differences were in the direction that would be expected with recovery, they were often small and, within the sensitivity of the study, were only significant for NEFA and CK. For journeys longer than 24 hours, an eighthour rest in lairage with access to water and a palatable food source was beneficial and allowed material realimentation and rehydration before further transport for up to 10 hours. After 24 hours of transport, however, liveweight, plasma urea, total protein and albumin had only returned to basal levels after 24 hours in lairage and plasma BHB, CK and osmolality after 48 hours of lairage.

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