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Can sow pre-lying communication or good piglet condition prevent piglets from getting crushed?

By Michala Melišová, Gudrun Illmann, Inger Lise Andersen, Guro Vasdal, Jiří Haman

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Abstract

This study focused on the impact of sow–piglet communication during pre-lying behaviour and piglet condition on piglet location before the sow was lying down and on the incidence of piglet crushing. Eighteen loose-housed, Yorkshire×Norwegian Landrace sows and their litters were studied on Day 1 and Day 3 post partum. The sow's pre-lying communication, consisting of the frequency of sow vocalization, sniffing and nudging piglets, was calculated per standing-to-lying event, and 260 events were analyzed. We also determined which component of the pre-lying behaviour influenced piglet location (piglets in an area identified as the danger zone and in the sow area) and piglet clustering at the moment of lying down. In contrast to what we predicted, sniffing increased the proportion of piglets (out of the litter size) in the danger zone (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 134
Issue 3
Pages 121-129
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.06.015
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Tags
  1. Communication
  2. Maternal behavior
  3. ontogeny
  4. Pigs