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Behavioural responses of sows and piglets from two genotypes to recorded nursing grunts played throughout lactation

By C. Farmer, S. Robert

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Abstract

The impact of playbacks of recorded sow nursing grunts on the development of nursing behaviour in sows from two genotypes was studied. Yorkshire x Landrace (YL; n=16) and 25% Meishan (MH; n=16) gilts were equally divided in two groups: (1) no playback, and (2) playbacks of recorded sow nursing grunts at 35-min intervals. Recordings were played from day 110 of gestation until day 27 of lactation. Sow behaviour was videotaped for 24 h every 4 days, from days 6 to 26 of lactation. Playbacks decreased nursing intervals in MH (34.9 min versus 38.2+or-1.1 min) without altering it in YL (37.9 min versus 36.5+or-1.1 min; breed x treatment, P<0.05), although this effect in MH was likely due to the increased frequency of non-productive nursings seen on days 6, 10 and 14 (P<0.05) in sows subjected to playbacks. In both breeds, the interval between nursings increased (P<0.01) from day 6 (33.7+or-0.8 min) to 26 (40.8+or-0.8 min) of lactation, the interval between non-productive nursings (NPN) remained similar (P>0.1) and sows, compared to piglets within a litter, ended more nursings as lactation advanced (P<0.01). More nursings were terminated by sows in MH than in YL (P<0.01) whereas more nursings were terminated by piglets from YL than MH sows (P<0.05). Playbacks or genotype did not alter the amount of time over a 24 h period that sows spent standing, sitting, lying on the belly or lying with the udder exposed (P>0.1), but sows spent more time sitting, standing and lying on the belly and less time lying with the udder exposed as lactation advanced (P<0.01). Posture changes were more frequent for MH than YL sows (P<0.01) and increased as lactation advanced in both genotypes (P<0.01). In conclusion, the effects of playbacks on nursing behaviour differed between genotypes: playbacks decreased nursing intervals in MH sows only, although this was likely due to an increase in NPN.

Date 2006
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 96
Issue 1/2
Pages 33-42
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, P.O. Box 90, Lennoxville, Que. J1M 1Z3, Canada. farmerc@agr.gc.ca
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Breed differences
  3. Gilts
  4. Lactation
  5. Mammals
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. sounds
  8. stimuli
  9. Swine
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  1. peer-reviewed