Female Dominance among Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis)
Tardiff, Sandra E.
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This paper describes the structure and function of the female dominance hierarchy in a herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis). Seven types of interactions were recorded, along with bedding and foraging displacements. The seven year old cohort interacted most frequently. Ewes less than seven years old were displaced most often; ewes seven years of age or older initiated displacements most often. Ewes interacted at the overall rate of 1.4 interactions per individual/h. Dominance was not strictly age related and was not determined early in development. The hierarchy did not seem to be linear. Estrus dates showed no relationship with a ewe's calculated rank. Higher ranking ewes were not more likely to produce a lamb and higher ranking females did not produce more of the expensive sex (male).