This study assessed the motivation of gestating sows housed in standard, barren gestation stalls (used for breeding/implantation and/or gestation) for access to environmental enrichment. Enrichment consisted of a cotton rope or rubber mat in comparison to positive (additional food when fed at commercial levels) and negative (empty trough) controls. Although environmental enrichment may improve animal welfare, sows' valuation of enrichments is largely unknown. This study used an operant panel and obtained behavioral measures to quantify motivation. As indicated by a higher price paid and lower latencies to press the panel and enter the treatment stall (all comparisons, p.10). Although sows' motivation for a mat did not differ from that for an empty trough, previous work has demonstrated the welfare benefits associated with comfort flooring.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Author Address||Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.MonicaRPElmore@gmail.com|
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