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Both energy content and bulk of food affect stereotypic behaviour, heart rate and feeding motivation of female pigs

By S. Robert, J. Rushen, C. Farmer

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The effect of high-fibre diets on feeding motivation and feeding-related stereotypic behaviour was examined in gilts. Forty gilts were fed on a concentrate diet (CONC) or high-fibre diets balanced for energy (WHEAT, wheat bran and maize cobs or OAT, oat hulls and oat) or with a lower energy content (OAT-LE). Daily intake of major nutrients was the same in the CONC, WHEAT and OAT diets. Duration of eating increased in all 3 bulky diets (P<0.01). Before meals, the total duration of chain manipulation was lower for gilts on the OAT diet compared with gilts fed on CONC and OAT-LE (P<0.05). After meals, duration of chain manipulation was lower in OAT and OAT-LE gilts than in CONC gilts (P<=0.05), with a tendency (P=0.09) for less stereotypies with WHEAT gilts. When eating time and the diet were included in a multiple regression model to predict the duration of chain manipulation after the meal, only time spent eating was significant. During an operant conditioning test, more rewards were received before the meal by CONC gilts than by WHEAT gilts, but both OAT and OAT-LE diets reduced operant performance after meals more than did the CONC diet (P<0.05). Heart rates before the meal were significantly lower in the OAT-LE gilts than in CONC and OAT gilts. With the arrival of the feed, heart rates increased and were higher in CONC gilts than in gilts on all other diets (P<0.01). It is concluded that bulky diets reduce hunger and post-feeding stereotypies as well as heart rate responses to feeding, while low-energy diets increase pre-feeding stereotypies and decrease baseline heart rates. Therefore, adding fibre in the diets of sows will be effective only if their nutrient requirements are met.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 54
Issue 2/3
Pages 161-171
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(97)00067-1
Language English
Author Address Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, PO Box 90, Route 108E, Lennoxville, Quebec, J1M 1Z3, Canada.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Composition
  5. Diets
  6. Energy
  7. Feeding behavior
  8. Fiber
  9. Heart rate
  10. Mammals
  11. motivation
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Pigs
  14. Swine
  1. peer-reviewed