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Why do pigs root and in what will they root? A review on the exploratory behaviour of pigs in relation to environmental enrichment

By M. Studnitz, M. B. Jensen, L. J. Pedersen

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Abstract

The intention of the new European legislation on rooting materials for pigs is to improve the welfare of pigs. The question is: which materials are suitable rooting materials for pigs? To answer this question the motivation for exploration in pigs is elucidated and the needs of the pigs in this context are discussed. The effects of different materials on the behaviour of pigs are listed and the preferences of pigs for numerous different materials are compared. Based on the literature on the normal behaviour of pigs and studies on pigs' use of and preferences for various materials, we conclude that in order to be a suitable rooting material the material must stimulate the exploratory behaviour of pigs for an extended length of time. Exploratory behaviour in pigs is best stimulated by materials that are complex, changeable, destructible, manipulable, and contain sparsely distributed edible parts.

Date 2007
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 107
Issue 3/4
Pages 183-197
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Tjele, Denmark. margitbak.jensen@agrsci.dk
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Bark
  7. Environment
  8. Hunger
  9. Mammals
  10. Meat animals
  11. motivation
  12. peat
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Plants
  15. Reviews
  16. Straw
  17. Swine
  18. vegetables
  19. wood
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  1. peer-reviewed