This study aimed to assess the effects of (1) environmental enrichment with either straw bedding or a plastic toy and (2) the way in which the plastic toy was presented on the behaviour of finishing pigs in two different housing systems. One thousand and twenty four (Large White x Landrace) x Large White pigs were housed contemporarily in either a straw-based (ST) or fully slatted (FS) building from 35 kg to slaughter at 104 kg. In each building, half of the pens received additional environmental enrichment in the form of a hanging plastic toy. The remaining pens in the ST house were enriched only by the straw bedding. In the FS house, the remaining pens were provided with a rootable toy of the same plastic material presented on the floor of the pen. There was no significant effect of housing system on the level of manipulation of the hanging toy. Within the FS system, the level of manipulation of the hanging toy tended to be higher than that of the plastic toy presented on the floor (P=0.052). Neither form of additional environmental enrichment provided a comparable level of occupation to that of straw bedding. In the absence of straw, more investigatory behaviours were directed towards both pen-mates (P<0.001) and pen components (P<0.001). Further study is required to identify functional forms of environmental enrichment in slatted systems to occupy pigs and prevent them from performing adverse behaviours.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK.Kamara.Scott@newcastle.ac.uk|
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