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Effect of partitioning pens on aggressive behavior of pigs regrouped at weaning

By L. S. Olesen, C. M. Nygaard, T. H. Friend, D. Bushong, D. A. Knabe, K. S. Vestergaard, R. K. Vaughan

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Abstract

In 2 trials, pigs were weaned at 28.5 days of age, stratified by body weight and assigned to groups of 7 on the condition that no more than 2 pigs in any group were from the same litter. Each group was housed in nursery pens which contained or did not contain (control) a partition. The partition, which contained two 20x30 cm ports, was placed diagonally across the pen. Short (<10 s) and long (>=10 s) fights and the number of pigs lying down were measured by direct observation during the first 3 h and again for 1 h at 24 and 48 h after grouping. The number of scratches on each pig were counted at 25 h after grouping. Housing treatments did not affect the aggressive behaviour of the piglets. There was a significant difference in agonistic behavior between the 2 trials. Long fights were significantly correlated with ear, shoulder and total scratches. Body weight was positively correlated with the number of shoulder and total scratches. When a fight occurred, the non-combatants frequently moved to the other side of the partition, but this was variable. No pigs were seen using corners to avoid aggression. Using a partition to make weaning pens into a more complex environment did not reduce agonistic behaviour or injuries caused by agonistic behavior.

Date 1995
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 46
Issue 3/4
Pages 167-174
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Bulowsvej 13, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Aggressive behavior
  3. Agonistic behavior
  4. Animal behavior
  5. Animal housing
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Fighting
  8. Housing
  9. Mammals
  10. partitions
  11. pens
  12. Swine
  13. weaning