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Can ambient sound reduce distress in piglets during weaning and restraint?

By S. Cloutier, D. M. Weary, D. Fraser

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This study monitored the vocal responses of piglets, as indicators of well-being, to evaluate the effect of various sounds played during 2 simulations of stressful farm procedures: (a) the 5 min the animals were held as if for castration and (b) the first 20 h after weaning. The sound treatments included pink noise, music, vocalizations made by other piglets during actual castrations or the first hours after weaning, and silence (control). The study presented pink noise and music both with and without a binaural beat in the delta-theta frequency range. In both the handling and weaning situations, none of the sound treatments reduced the piglets' call rate below that heard during the control. Piglets vocalized most during playback of pink noise and least during silence and playback of calls from other pigs. These results suggest that playing music or other sounds provides no improvement in conditions for piglets during handling and weaning.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 3
Issue 2
Pages 107-116
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705 (Print), 1532-7604 (Online)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0302_3
Language English
Author Address Center for the Study of Animal Well-Being, Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, Washington State University, P.O. Box 646520, Pullman, WA 99164-6520, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  7. Castration
  8. Handling
  9. Mammals
  10. Noise
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Pigs
  13. Stress
  14. Suiformes
  15. Swine
  16. ungulates
  17. vertebrates
  18. vocalizations
  19. weaning
  1. peer-reviewed