The effects of "unpleasant", control (minimal contact with humans), and "pleasant" handling of boars and gilts from 11 wk of age were studied. Boars in the pleasant handling group attained a fully coordinated mating response at an earlier age and had larger testes at 160 days of age than those in the unpleasant handling group. Gilts were mated to fertile boars at their 2nd oestrus. The pregnancy rate 50-60 days after mating for gilts in the unpleasant, control and pleasant handling groups (8 or 9 [female][female] per group) was 33.3, 55.6 and 87.5% resp. Pigs in the unpleasant handling group had a chronic elevation of corticosteroid levels in isolation from humans, and, together with those in the control group, had an acute elevation of corticosteroid levels in the presence of humans. It is suggested that these stress responses prior to and around the time of mating may impair reproductive performance.
|Publisher||European Association for Animal Production|
|Author Address||Animal Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, Werribee, Victoria, Australia, 3030.|
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