The objective of this study was to investigate if female growing pigs spend similar amounts of time exploring a wooden stick as they do exploring enrichment material regardless of its proximity to the feeder. Forty-eight pigs aged 18 to 26 weeks allocated to 16 pens with three pigs per pen were studied. Fifty percent of the pens had a wooden stick beside the feeder, and the rest had a similar stick opposite to the feeder. Two observers assessed the pigs by means of scan and focal sampling. The pigs spent more time (p < .0001) exploring the wood during the first week than during the rest of the study (10.9% vs 3.6%). The pigs with the wood close to the feeder spent less (p = .0001) time resting (29.9%) and more (p < .0001) time exploring (6.3%) the wood than did pigs with the wood opposite to the feeder (32.4% and 2.5%, respectively). In conclusion, a wooden stick placed close to the feeder was associated with more exploratory behaviorcompared with a similar stick placed opposite to the feeder.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
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