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Prepartum nest-building has an impact on postpartum nursing performance and maternal behaviour in early lactating sows

By Jinhyeon Yun, Kirsi-Marja Swan, Chantal Farmer, Claudio Oliviero, Olli Peltoniemi, Anna Valros

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Abstract

The effects of facilitating prepartum nest-building (NB) behaviour, by providing abundant nesting materials, on postpartum maternal characteristics in early lactating sows were evaluated. A total of 35 sows, approximately seven days before the expected parturition date, were housed in: (1) CRATE (N=11): the farrowing crate closed (210cm×80cm), with provision of a bucketful of sawdust, (2) PEN (N=12): the farrowing crate opened, with provision of a bucketful of sawdust, and (3) NEST (N=12): the farrowing crate opened, with provision of abundant nesting materials. Plasma samples were collected from sows, via an indwelling catheter on days −3, −2, and −1 (parturition being day 0) for oxytocin (OT) and prolactin (PRL) assays. Prepartum NB behaviour was observed in sows for a 20min period for each hour from 18h to parturition until birth of the first piglet. This NB behaviour included pawing, rooting and arranging nest material. The potential interactions between NB behaviour and postpartum maternal characteristics were investigated. The longest duration of NB behaviour was observed in NEST, followed by PEN and CRATE sows respectively (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 160
Pages 31-37
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.08.011
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Tags
  1. Farrowing
  2. Maternal behavior
  3. nests
  4. Oxytocin
  5. prolactin
  6. sows