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Tail biting in fattening pigs: Associations between frequency of tail biting and other abnormal behaviours

By Emma Brunberg, Anna Wallenbeck, Linda J. Keeling

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Abstract

This study investigated the association between tail biting (TB) and other abnormal behaviours in a group of non-tail docked pigs. Behavioural data were collected from 742 pigs housed on a commercial farm. The prevalence of performed and received TB, belly nosing, bar biting, ear biting and mounting was recorded during two 30min observation periods. Pigs were categorized based on the number of performed tail bites/hour; non-performers (NP, TB=0, n=643), low performers (LP, TB=1–4, n=79), high performers (HP, TB>4, n=20) and the number of received tail bites; non-receivers (NR, TB=0, n=559), low receivers (LR, TB=1–2, n=133) and high receivers (HR, TB>2, n=50). Based on the intensity of the receivers’ response to being bitten, TB behaviour was further classified into three grades; no, mild or severe reaction. Tail-in-mouth behaviour, which did not involve biting, was also recorded. The proportion of performed bites classified as severe was significantly higher (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 133
Issue 1
Pages 18-25
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.019
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Tags
  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Pigs
  3. tails
  4. welfare