Introduction such that its long axis markedly deviated from


of function has been classified under 3 Broad categories

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Inadequacies of
Sexual Functioning
Inadequacies of
Parental Functions
Abnormalities of
Basic Movements

Inadequacies of Sexual Functioninga)Silent Heat

is  highest among heifers low in position
in the social hierarchy of the herd and is due to metabolic and social stress

                  Among Dairy cattle 20-30%
recorded in variety of countries.  Not
uncommon in Mares , Ewes and Sows. But animals have normal level of fertility.
Hence can be bred Artificially (Cows) or forcefully bred naturally (Mares).

Improved management of breeding animals to minimize the amount of metabolic and
social stress

b) Male impotence

                   More common in Beef breeds –
Hereford, Aberdeen Angus breeds. Male animal does not respond to the breeding
female. In this condition, the bull lays its chin on the hindquarters of the
cow and directs little attention to her. Animal maintains an inactive stance,
appearance of somnolence created by eyes being partially or periodically closed
most of the time (‘somnolent impotence)

Cause – Unknown

            Condition is refractory to
treatment & leads to animal being culled

(c )Coital Disorientation

this condition, before mating males show positional disorientation such that
its long axis markedly deviated from the female axis and such deviation
maintained throughout reaction time. Mating fails to occur. In this anomalous
condition, the animal is inactive & behaviourally impotent



(d) Intromission Impotence

                 Observed in Bulls &
Rams.  Exists in several dairy breeds of
Cattle & Suffolk breed of Sheep. In Bulls, this condition is found in
animals that had normal copulatory function. Rams, this condition found in
young animals within certain breedlines. Anomaly not of permanent duration,
persist for 6 -12 months, becomes resolved spontaneously.

 Cause – general social deprivation or
specific deprivation contact with females during development.

           In this condition, bulls mounts
readily but only partially covers the cow, bulls hind feet not brought forward
close to cows hindfeet – as a result close genital opposition does not occur

Avoidance of prolonged isolation rearing 
& giving animals complete or partial contact with both sexes during

Inadequacies of Parental Functions

             In farming condition Parental
behaviour in domestic animal species is largely Maternal. Inadequacies
of Maternal behavior is often of great importance to the welfare of the
young & economics of farming enterprises.

Neonatal Rejection

                 Occur on 1st day of
postpartum & frequently with inexperienced mothers –primiparous. Rejection
is either Desertion or Aggressive (butting, striking, driving away or biting).
Desertion of Lambs by Ewes – frequent in fine wooled breeds (22%) e.g Merino.
Also in ewes on low-protein diet – desert her offspring if unable to feed it.

Causes :Most cases occur spontaneously, some
due to short term separation from mother at parturition. Desertion of calves –
found in isolation reared Heifers. Foal rejection by mares – due to
disturbances at the time of foaling either by Stallions or humans

REMEDY :    Individual Penning, Care of Ewe & lamb
to assure bonding, Foster rearing, 
Violent Aggression require sedation

Maternal Failure

                Some animals fail to show
adequate Maternal response to their young (not actively desert or aggressively

i. Fail to groom & clean newborns immediately
following its birth – neonate left in wet condition – hence mother fails to
acquire olfactory & gustatory stimulation which initiate bonding &
identification of her progeny.

ii. Reluctance to accommodate the suckling attempts by
the neonates

iii. Another inadequacy is movement whenever young
tries to grasp the teat

) Stealing of Young

          Common in Cattle, horses & Sheep
wherever large number of pregnant females are enclosed together. The
intense interest shown by many ewes in alien lambs & cows in alien calves,
can  be followed by acceptance of
suckling attempts & young being stolen from its mother

Problems – (i) lamb stealing by
foster mother not yet in lactation – may reject her own lambs or have no
colustrum for it – leading to its own lamb death

             (ii) lamb stealing by ewes that
lost their own lamb – affects maternal behaviour of Deprived ewe if it is her 1st
lambing – likely to show anomolous behaviour in next lambing

:  Seperating cow, mare or ewe from the group
before or very soon after parturition – (i.e.,) separate calving box or
erecting hurdle pen

Killing of Young & maternal cannibalism

Maternal chewing of their own new borns seen in sows
& ewes

are 3 sub types of behaviour observed in sows

is hyperactive following birth of piglets, gets agitated by their activities
& vocalisation – piglets become crushed by sows agitation – accidentally
killed piglets get eaten or partially eaten

shows persistent active avoidance – leads to aggression towards approaching
piglets – such piglets likely to be bitten & killed – killed piglets get
eaten or partially eaten

is hyperactive following parturition – shows aggression towards humans or
piglets coming within range – snaps aggressively at any intruding piglets –
leads to death of whole litter – killed piglets get eaten or partially

Cannibalism in sows  – Husbandry
conditions – sows placed in a novel environment at the time of parturition –
leads to environmental maladjustment – leading to cannibalism

Remedy –

           Providing Farrowing crate , And
allowing few days to get adjusted,  Supply of straw to pre –partum sows – allows
them to engage in nest building. In extreme cases Sedation may be used

Maternal Cannibalism in Ewes

Chews on New borns appendages  
– such ewes eat off tail / feet of new born lambs which may lead
to severly damaged feet & in addition tail become seriously infected  leading to lamb to be destroyed. Occur where
ewes lamb in crowded indoor condition.

in Ewes – (i) Adequate provision of 
lambing pens & Outdoor Space

             (ii) Seperation from other animals
to minimise excitability

            (iii) provide well balanced ration
to lambing ewes as it creates suspicion about nutritional factors because of
this abnormal appetite

III. Abnormalities of Basic Movements
Abnormal lying & Standing – CATTLE
     – in hooved animals kept on slippery
slatted floors – Delay or prolonged lying

Abnormal lying of young cattle in Slippery floor to minimise painful events – Lie
down rump first

Sitting observed – in Veal calves permanently confined in narrow crates

of this abnormal Behaviour : Avoiding Slippery Slatted Floors and exercise on
adequate flooring & suitable lying conditions

                         Hence in general,  Abnormal behaviour due to failure of
Functions are Innate to certain extent i.e., specific to breeds
which cannot be corrected fully. Certain Failure of Functions are due to Faulty
Management and can be reduced by improving Farm management



1.   Farm Animal Behavior and
Welfare by A.F.Fraser and D.M.Broom 1997

2.   Domestic Animal Behaviour
for veterinarians and Animal Scientists by Katherine A.Houpt 2011

Animal behaviour by David
Mc Farland (1999)