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The backtest in pigs revisited—Inter-situational behaviour and animal classification

By Manuela Zebunke, Gerd Nürnberg, Nina Melzer, Birger Puppe

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Since the introduction of the backtest for the early detection of coping strategies in piglets by Hessing in the 1990s, this behavioural test has been intensively investigated with ambiguous results. One possible explanation for this lack of consistency might be the different classification methods used in many studies, so the first aim of this research was to investigate the inter-situational consistency of backtest behaviour in a set of 120 piglets. Through a correlation analysis, we related backtest behaviour with behaviours in other test situations (mixing/dominance; group testing: human approach test (HAT), novel object test (NOT), open door test (ODT); and individual testing: open field test (OFT)). Second, in a larger number of piglets (n=3555), we investigated four different classification methods that use different parameters (latency, duration, and frequency) and different test repetitions (1, 2, 3, and 4). We then tested the effect of classifying the animals according to each method and analysing their distribution across categories and the variance in the behavioural data using the 120-piglet dataset (category analysis). Finally, we validated the results of the category analysis with the results of the correlation analysis. The correlation analysis revealed weak (dominance: rS

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 194
Pages 7-13
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Classification
  2. Coping
  3. Personality
  4. Pigs
  5. tests