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Does the location of enrichment material affect behavior and dirtiness in growing female pigs?

By Antoni Dalmau, Bruno Areal, Silvana Machado, Joaquim Pallisera, Antonio Velarde

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

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
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 116-126
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2018.1443816
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Tags
  1. Enrichment
  2. Exploration
  3. Pigs
  4. Social behavior
  5. wood