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.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||ASED, Silsoe Research Institute, Wrest Park, Silsoe MK45 4HS, UK.|
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