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The effect of overgrown claws on behaviour and claw abnormalities of sows in farrowing crates

By J. A. C. Diaz, I. M. J. Stienezen, F. C. Leonard, L. A. Boyle

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of overgrowth of the weight bearing claws on the behaviour of sows in farrowing crates. The study used 24 multiparous lactating sows, 13 with overgrown (OG) rear claws and 11 controls. Sows were video recorded continuously from approximately 12 h before farrowing in order to capture postural behaviour for 6 h prior to the birth of the first piglet. An index of the proportion of time spent in different postures was calculated by sampling sow postural behaviour every 10 min. Lying down behaviour and sow behaviour while standing at feeding were directly observed during three feeding events within a week of farrowing, commencing approximately 10 min prior to feed delivery and terminating once the sows lay down. Data on time spent "only" standing, time spent feeding, number of slips and weight shifts per minute and latency, time and number of attempts to lie down, among others, were recorded during the direct observations. Additionally, all front and hind weight bearing claws were examined for claw abnormalities which were scored according to severity using a 4-point scale (0=normal to 3=severe) on the day of transfer to the farrowing crate (d110 of gestation) and after farrowing while the sows were lying down. Data were analysed using generalised linear mixed model equation methods in PROC GLIMMIX of SAS v9.3. Sows with overgrown claws (OG) had a higher score for erosion ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 166
Pages 44-51
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Pig Development Department, Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Irish
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Claw
  5. Effect
  6. Farrowing
  7. Feeding
  8. Mammals
  9. Methodologies
  10. mortality
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Pigs
  13. pregnancy
  14. sows
  15. Suiformes
  16. Techniques
  17. ungulates
  18. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed