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The welfare of pigs in two farrowing/lactation environments: cortisol responses of sows

By G. M. Cronin, J. L. Barnett, F. M. Hodge, J. A. Smith, T. H. McCallum

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Abstract

Plasma free cortisol concentrations were measured in 24 primiparous sows housed from day 104 after mating up to day 2 after parturition. Concentrations were measured in 22 of these sows during days 2-29 of lactation, housed in either commercial farrowing crates, or farrowing pens with straw. The mortality and growth data of litters from birth to weaning were recorded. Mean plasma free cortisol concentration was higher in sows in crates, compared with penned sows on the first day of the experiment (8.2 and 5.8 nmol/litre, respectively) and on day 28 of lactation (5.6 and 4.0 nmol/litre). The data suggest that type of housing around parturition and during lactation may have only limited effects on the welfare of sows, providing that lactation is no longer than 28 days. On days 21 and 24, there were no effects on free cortisol concentrations and no response to exogenous ACTH, respectively. However, on day 28, there were mean increases in the concentrations of free cortisol of about 150% and 60

Date 1991
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 32
Issue 2-3
Pages 117-127
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Department of Agriculture Victoria, Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Werribee, Vic., 3030, Australia.
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Tags
  1. Animal housing
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Blood
  6. Crates
  7. Farms
  8. Farrowing
  9. Glucocorticoids
  10. Mammals
  11. Meat animals
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Swine
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed