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Open AccessArticle

Reestablishment of Social Hierarchies in Weaned Pigs after Mixing

1
College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
2
Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010036
Received: 2 October 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 19 December 2019 / Published: 23 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Domestic Animal Behavior and Well-Being)
Aggression after mixing has negative effects on growth performance and animal welfare in pigs. To analyze the temporal dynamics of social hierarchy formation and maintenance, a total of 102 weaned pigs (47 females and 55 barrows) were selected and blocked by sex and body weight. The pigs were mixed into 10 single-sex pens (10 to 11 pigs/pen) avoiding original littermates. Their behavior was recorded and observed for 72 h after mixing for the analysis of dominance hierarchy indices in each pen. The three hierarchical indices: I&SI, Elo rating, and Glicko rating, were associated with each other (|r| = 0.681~0.942, p < 0.001). I&SI was associated with the logarithms of frequency of active attack (|r| = 0.65, p < 0.05) and tended to be associated to logarithms of frequency of standoff (|r| = 0.48, p < 0.1). Elo rating, and Glicko rating were associated with logarithms of duration of being bullied (|r| = 0.393~0.401, p < 0.05). In addition, Glicko rating tended to be associated with the logarithms of duration of active attack and frequency of active attack (|r| = 0.416~0.439, p < 0.1). Multiple linear regression analyses of logarithms of dyadic behavior indicators for hierarchical indices indicated the same effects. The rank of pigs became stable earlier (p < 0.001) in females (23.06 ± 4.15 h post mixing) than in barrows (40.55 ± 4.71 h post mixing). The first ranked pig quickly appeared within a few hours after mixing and remained stable. Our study provided new insights into the re-establishment of social hierarchies in weaned pigs after mixing.
Pigs are animals that live in groups and have social hierarchies within the group. After mixing, they can re-establish social hierarchies within several days through fighting. Dominance hierarchical indices, such as I&SI, Elo rating, and Glicko rating, have been used to analyze social hierarchies of some social animals but not pigs. I&SI index involves iterative calculations that first minimize the number of inconsistencies (I) in a dominance matrix, and then minimize the strength of those inconsistencies (SI). Elo rating and Glicko rating indices are based on the sequence in which interactions occur, and continuously update ratings by looking at interactions sequentially. To study the temporal dynamics of social hierarchy formation and maintenance in weaned pigs after mixing, a total of 102 pigs (47 females and 55 barrows) were selected by similar body weight and mixed in 10 pens (10 or 11 females or barrows per pen). Their behavior was recorded and observed for 72 h after mixing. Results showed that hierarchical indices I&SI, Elo rating, and Glicko rating were associated with each other (|r| = 0.681 ~ 0.942, p < 0.001). I&SI was associated with logarithms of frequency of active attack (|r| = 0.65, p < 0.05) and tended to associated with logarithms of frequency of standoff (|r| = 0.48, p < 0.1). Elo rating, and Glicko rating were associated with the logarithms of duration of being bullied (|r| = 0.393~0.401, p < 0.05). In addition, Glicko rating tended to be associated with the logarithms of duration of active attack and frequency of active attack (|r| = 0.416~0.439, p < 0.1). Multiple linear regression analyses of logarithms of dyadic behavior indicators for three hierarchical indices indicated the same effects. The time (hours) to achieve social stability of pigs after mixing was lower for females than barrows (23.06 ± 4.15 vs. 40.55 ± 4.71 h; p < 0.001). The most dominant pig (the first ranked) in each pen quickly appeared within a few hours after mixing and remained stable. Overall, our study demonstrated that the ranks calculated by the three dominance hierarchical indices: I&SI, Elo rating, and Glicko rating, were consistent and partially associated with part of the dyadic behavioral indicators in weaned pigs after mixing. View Full-Text
Keywords: dominance hierarchy; pig; sex; backtest; temporal dynamic dominance hierarchy; pig; sex; backtest; temporal dynamic
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tong, X.; Shen, C.; Chen, R.; Gao, S.; Liu, X.; Schinckel, A.P.; Zhou, B. Reestablishment of Social Hierarchies in Weaned Pigs after Mixing. Animals 2020, 10, 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010036

AMA Style

Tong X, Shen C, Chen R, Gao S, Liu X, Schinckel AP, Zhou B. Reestablishment of Social Hierarchies in Weaned Pigs after Mixing. Animals. 2020; 10(1):36. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010036

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tong, Xian; Shen, Chunyan; Chen, Ruonan; Gao, Siyuan; Liu, Xinpeng; Schinckel, Allan P.; Zhou, Bo. 2020. "Reestablishment of Social Hierarchies in Weaned Pigs after Mixing" Animals 10, no. 1: 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010036

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