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Behavioural and physiological responses of pigs to sound

By J. C. Talling, N. K. Waran, C. M. Wathes, J. A. Lines

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Eight piglets were exposed to artificially generated sounds, nominal intensities of 85 or 97 dB(Lin), and frequencies of 500 or 8000 Hz for 15 min during a 1-h experimental period. In a 2nd experiment, 8 piglets were exposed to 20 min of farm sounds (Leq 80 dB), transport sounds (Leq 83 dB), abattoir sounds (Leq 84 dB) or white noise (Leq 89 dB). In both studies piglets were exposed to the sounds in an arena to which they had previously become accustomed and a companion pig was present in the experimental room. The behaviour and heart rate of the piglets were recorded before, during and after exposure to all the sounds in both experiments. In addition, observations were made in a control session with no sound stimuli. In both experiments an increase in heart rate (maximum 20 beats/min) occurred during the first 15 min of sound exposure when compared with controls. In experiment 1, an increase in ambulation score occurred due to sound exposure. Greater increases were found when the pigs were exposed to the higher frequency and higher intensity in experiment 1. In experiment 2, the transporter sounds caused the greatest increase in heart rate and the greatest reduction in ambulation score. When the specific behaviours of the piglets were compared there was no difference between the different treatments in experiment 2; however, sound exposure in general changed the behaviour of the pigs from resting to aroused and attentive.

Date 1996
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 48
Issue 3/4
Pages 187-201
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address ASED, Silsoe Research Institute, Wrest Park, Silsoe MK45 4HS, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Activity
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal health and hygiene
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Heart rate
  7. Locomotion
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. responses
  11. sounds
  12. Stress
  13. Swine
  1. peer-reviewed