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Piglets call for maternal attention: vocal behaviour in Sus scrofa domesticus is modulated by mother's proximity

By P. Iacobucci, V. Colonnello, L. D'Antuono, S. Cloutier, R. C. Newberry

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Abstract

Plasticity in the production of "separation distress" vocalizations, and seeking of caregivers beyond mere satisfaction of immediate physiological needs, are manifestations of attachment that we investigated in the domestic pig ( Sus scrofa domesticus). Female piglets from eight litters were either weaned ( N=8) in pairs or stayed with their mother and remaining littermates (unweaned, N=8). After 48 h, they were placed individually in a test pen for 5 min in isolation (ISO) followed by 5 min in fence-line contact with their mother (Restricted Reunion, RR). The sows spent comparable time close to their weaned and unweaned piglets during the RR sessions, and gave a comparable number of vocalizations in their presence. Although unweaned piglets uttered more vocalizations overall than their weaned littermates ( P=0.008), both weaned and unweaned piglets vocalized at a higher rate during the RR than the ISO session ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 171
Pages 88-93
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.08.006
Language English
Author Address Center for the Study of Animal Well-being, Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, PO Box 646310, Pullman, WA 99164-6310, USA.iacobucci@vetmed.wsu.edu valentina.colonnello@psychologie.uni-freiburg.de lauradantuono@vetmed.wsu.edu scloutier@ccac.ca ruth.newberry@nmbu.no
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Tags
  1. Africa
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animals
  4. Developing countries
  5. France
  6. Litters
  7. Livestock
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Pigs
  11. plasticity
  12. Reunion
  13. sows
  14. Suiformes
  15. Tourism and travel
  16. ungulates
  17. vertebrates
  18. vocalizations
  19. weaning
  20. Wild animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed