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The development of agonistic behaviour in relation to the size of the farrowing pen

By J. A. H. Duijghuisen

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The development of agonistic behaviour of piglets in two types of farrowing pen and their later behaviour as sows in groups was investigated. One type of farrowing pen was 3.85 msuperscript 2, the other was 6.85 msuperscript 2. In both types, agonistic interactions were analysed at an age of 2, 3 and 4 weeks. After 8 weeks, all piglets were housed in equally sized fattening pens (6.8 msuperscript 2) and again agonistic interactions were analysed. Several piglets from both pen types were raised to become sows whose behaviour in groups was to be analysed. Piglets in the larger pens performed more threatening and standing in front, and less biting and head knocks, aimed at the backside than piglets in the smaller pens. In the smaller pens, there was no increase in threatening and standing in front from Week 2 until Week 4, while a significant increase was found in the larger pens. Most differences present in Week 4 still existed in Week 9. In both types of pen, it was found that "redirected exploratory behaviour" often induced aggressive reactions and that these agonistic interactions were different from other agonistic interactions. It is concluded that there are differences in the development of agonistic behaviour between animals reared in the two different pens and it seems reasonable to assume that these differences will still be present during a later stage of group housing of these sows.

Date 1988
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 21
Issue 4
Pages 368
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Dep. Anim. Husb., Agric. Univ., P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands.
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agonistic behavior
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal housing
  4. Animal husbandry
  5. Farms
  6. Farrowing
  7. Housing
  8. Mammals
  9. Meat animals
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. pens
  12. size
  13. Swine
  14. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed