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Pre-transport loading of farmed red deer: effects of previous overnight housing environment, vehicle illumination and shape of loading race
  1. P. N. Grigor, BSc, MSc, PhD1,1,
  2. P. J. Goddard, BVet Med, PhD, MRCVS1,
  3. C. A. Littlewood, NDA1 and
  4. D. W. Deakin, NDA2
  1. 1 Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB 15 8QH
  2. 2 ADAS Rosamaund, Preston Wynne, Hereford HR1 3PG


The behaviour of farmed red deer was studied while they were being loaded on to a transporter. In experiment 1, the effects of previous overnight housing conditions (indoors, at a space allowance of either 4 or 8 m2 per deer, or in an outdoor raceway) on the ease of loading were investigated. The number of attempts required to load the deer was not significantly affected by their housing conditions or their sex, but there was a significant increase in the number of attempts required after the first day (P<O.05), suggesting that some aspect of the loading procedure was aversive to the deer. In experiment 2, the effects of illumination inside the vehicle (bright or dim) and the shape of the loading race (straight or curved) were examined. Neither factor significantly influenced the time taken by deer to enter the trailer. However, deer took significantly (P<O.05) less time to load as the number of trials increased. It is concluded that the loading of deer may be facilitated if the loading raceway is wide enough to allow the deer to move as a group, but narrow enough to prevent the deer from turning round.

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  • Dr Grigor's present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG

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