Next Article in Journal
Influence of Progesterone-Treatment Length and eCG Administration on Appearance of Estrous Behavior, Ovulatory Success and Fertility in Sheep
Next Article in Special Issue
Feeding Strategies Before and at Mixing: The Effect on Sow Aggression and Behavior
Previous Article in Journal
Growth Performance, Antioxidant Capacity, Lipid-Related Transcript Expression and the Economics of Broiler Chickens Fed Different Levels of Rutin
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Animals 2019, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010008

Provision Point-Source Materials Stimulates Play in Sows but Does Not Affect Aggression at Regrouping

1
School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Roseworthy 5371, South Australia, Australia
2
South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Roseworthy 5371, South Australia, Australia
3
Paul Hughes Consulting, North Adelaide 5006, South Australia, Australia
4
SunPork Farms, Sheaoak Log 5371, South Australia, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 20 December 2018 / Published: 22 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Environment and Stressors on Animal Welfare)
  |  
PDF [612 KB, uploaded 2 January 2019]
  |  

Simple Summary

In most intensive pig production systems, pigs are often mixed into new groups. Sows are important to a production system, as they are the driver behind the farms’ productivity. The aggression that results from sows being mixed into new groups and formation of hierarchy can detrimentally affect production and welfare. This study aimed to determine the effect of providing access to materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows. Play behaviors were observed in the ‘enhanced’ pen and no play was observed in standard housing (without materials present). Aggression measures, salivary free cortisol concentrations, and injury counts were unaffected by treatment. The provision of point-source materials to sows at mixing had no impact on aggression; however, their presence maintained sow interest over the course of the experiment. Additionally, play behavior was observed in their presence, which may suggest that a more positive affect was induced when the materials were provided.

Abstract

When sows are mixed into groups, hierarchies form and resulting aggression and stress can affect production and welfare. This study determined the effect of providing point-source materials on aggressive and play behaviors in gestating sows. Large white cross Landrace sows were mixed after insemination; six pens of 12 sows were housed in ‘standard’ pens, and six pens of 12 sows were housed in ‘enhanced’ pens. The ‘enhanced’ pens each contained two rubber mats, eight strands of 24 mm-thick sisal rope and two yellow plastic disks, suspended from the roof. The sows remained in these pens until pregnancy confirmation. Salivary cortisol concentration, injury counts, and sow behaviors were recorded the day before mixing (day 1), mixing (day 0) and post-mixing day 1, day 4, day 7 and day 20. At farrowing, reproductive outcomes were obtained. Play was observed (including locomotor and object play) in the ‘enhanced’ pen, and percentage of time spent playing was greater on d4 (1.48 ± 0.3 Square root transformed data (2.84% non-transformed adjusted mean)), d7 (1.43 ± 0.3 (2.97%)) and d20 (1.64 ± 0.3 (3.84%)), compared to d0 (0.56 ± 0.3 (0.70%)) and d1 (0.87 ± 0.3 (1.67%) (p < 0.05)). No play was observed in standard housing. Aggression, salivary free cortisol concentrations and injuries were unaffected (p > 0.05). The provision of materials had no impact on aggression, although their presence maintained sow interest and play behavior, suggesting a positive effect. View Full-Text
Keywords: aggression; group housing; mixing; point-source materials; sow aggression; group housing; mixing; point-source materials; sow
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Greenwood, E.C.; Van Wettere, W.H.E.J.; Rayner, J.; Hughes, P.E.; Plush, K.J. Provision Point-Source Materials Stimulates Play in Sows but Does Not Affect Aggression at Regrouping. Animals 2019, 9, 8.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top