Alfred University Research and Archive (AURA)

Tackling Stress in Sheep through the Addition of Natural Feed Supplements

Show simple item record Watts, Christina 2014-05-27T18:24:49Z 2014-05-27T18:24:49Z 2014-05-02
dc.description Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program. en_US
dc.description.abstract Farmers are being challenged to elevate their animals' standard of living due to consumer demands, public health concerns and a developing understanding of the physiological effects of stress. In order to mitigate the negative effects of stress, we need a way to identify and address them. The first objective of this project is to investigate means to lower stress levels in sheep (Ovis aries) using a cost effective/natural product. A treatment group of sheep was supplemented with Matricaria chamomilla, commonly known as chamomile, and then run through a stress test. After initial analysis, chamomile fed sheep showed both lower average (139 bpm vs. 162 bpm) and max heart rates (184 bpm vs. 195 bpm) during a stress test. Chamomile fed sheep also had lower salivary cortisol both prior to and after exposer to stress stimuli. The second objective of this project is to develop a non-invasive approach to monitoring stress in sheep. Fluctuations in the microbiome have previously been linked to changes in stress; therefore, the relative abundance of fecal bacterial species may act as a proxy for animal health and relative stress. If the specific microbial profiles to an animal's stress level are correlated, monitoring changes in the microbiome may provide a new way of gauging stress in sheep. This knowledge can be used to develop better animal husbandry techniques and improve welfare among livestock. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Honors thesis en_US
dc.subject Stress en_US
dc.subject Sheep en_US
dc.subject Biology en_US
dc.title Tackling Stress in Sheep through the Addition of Natural Feed Supplements en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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