The effects of space availability, the experimental week, and their two-way interaction on the average enclosure values of all dependent variables were tested by means of a repeated measures mixed model ANOVA, with the gestation week being used as the repeated measures unit, and with the enclosure being included as a random factor in the model. If this distance was smaller, it was assumed that the ewe did actually not move. Then mean XY values of these positions were calculated, with the error being assumed to be the longest distance from among those obtained. All enclosures had solid PVC walls to prevent visual contact of the animal, and pen dimensions were 2. Table 1 Variables measured in the study.
Movement activity Frequency of scans in which the position of a ewe differed from that in the previous scan. This reflected in shorter, more sinuous trajectories composed of shorter steps, lower inter-individual distances and higher movement activity potentially linked with higher restlessness levels. However, movement activity was defined as the change in position of the animal in two consecutive scans. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of space availability on movement patterns and use of space during the second half of the gestation period in pregnant ewes. In sheep, previous studies have focused on their use of space in natural pastures  —  but no study has examined the spatial requirements of ewes under confined conditions, which are more likely to occur during pregnancy in order to protect them for harsh weather conditions. Data collection Data collection started in gestation week 9 69 days after AI , 7 days after ewes were housed in the experimental pens, and lasted for 11 weeks end of gestation week Close Banks et al. Introduction Husbandry practices in domestic sheep Ovis aries can differ greatly, ranging from eminently extensive pasture, to intensive, indoor systems  , differing greatly in the quantity and quality of space  , which will largely determine sheep behaviour . In pregnant ewes, low space availability is associated with decreased activity, increased occurrence of social interactions  , and changes in resting patterns . Reproduction Bighorn sheep are seasonal breeders and females typically produce one lamb per year. Open in a separate window Statistical analysis For all the dependent variables, mean values were calculated per enclosure and week. To determine the effect of space availability on movement and space use in pregnant ewes Ovis aries , 54 individuals were studied during the last 11 weeks of gestation. Movement and space use depend on the amount of space, being in itself a basic resource that may also be influenced by environmental complexity  , resource availability and location, the presence of familiarity clues  , and social behavioural components. No major variations in spatial requirements were detected through gestation, except for slight increments in inter-individual distances and an initial adaptation period, with ewes being restless and highly motivated to explore their new environment. In the Peninsular Ranges, average home range sizes of 25 and 20 square kilometers have been reported for males and females, respectively. The order in which enclosures were observed was random for each round. Peripheral location ratio Frequency of scans in which a ewe was located in the peripheral area, defined as the area covering the 50 cm closer to the wall. Body posture and scent play important roles in social communication. During this period, males compete for the opportunity to mate with females, sometimes exhibiting fantastic head butting competitions. Interaction of group size and feeders' distribution on inter-individual distances  , or higher use of enclosure peripheral areas at higher stocking densities, have also been reported in chickens  , . Forty-six days after AI, gestation and number of viable foetuses were confirmed via ultra-sound methodologies Ovi-scan 6, BCF, Australia and body condition was determined using a 5-point scoring scale . The error was too small to alter in any way the results of the defined use of space and movement parameters. Nearest neighbour distance cm Within the same scan, Euclidean distance between the location of a given ewe and that of the closest ewe within the pen. This philopatric behavior is more pronounced in females, who have smaller home ranges than males. Once the error for each enclosure size was estimated, the resulting ewes' position was corrected by evaluating if the distance between two subsequent scans was smaller than the estimated error. Insect Sounds and Communication:
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