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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: BEHAVIOR AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF OUTDOOR GESTATING SOWS: EFFECT OF COLD WEATHER AND GRASS BURNING

Authors
item Rachuonyo, H - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
item Morrow, Julie
item Gentry, J - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
item Anderson, D - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
item Wilson, S - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
item Dailey, Jeffery
item Bird, H - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
item Mcglone, J - TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 20, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to evaluate relationships among behavior of outdoor-kept PIC sows, changes in soil nutrients and percent ground cover and to determine if burning a pasture (Old World bluestem) prior to occupation has any effects on these relationships. Seven pregnant sows were assigned at random to one of four replicated paddocks (1 acre each) per treatment (control or burned). Behavior (rooting, wallowing, standing, lying down) of each sow was recorded at 10-minute intervals for a 24h period (averaged for each hour) on a cold (mean of-5.3 degrees C) and warmer (mean of 4.6 degrees C) day. Soil samples were collected with a soil auger at a 0 to 15 cm depth on days 0 and 30 of the trial. Soil samples were extracted and assayed for nitrate by spectrophotometer. Ground cover was estimated visually on day 0, 30 and 60. Behavior measures were analyzed as a split-split plot over days and hours within days. Ground cover data and soil nitrate levels were analyzed as a split plot with two treatments, three areas (hub, middle and outside) within each paddock and two sample times (0 and 30 days). More sows (P<.05) spent time rooting on the cold than on the warmer day. On the warmer day, wallowing activity was greater (P<.05) than on cold. Other behaviors were not different between day nor between treatments. Ground cover decreased (P<.05) over time (0.1-0.27% per day) but was not different between burned and grass paddocks. Rooting hole numbers (0.18 per day) & sizes (55 cm*2) were lower (P<.05) for grass than burned paddocks but were not different among areas or over time. These results indicate how long it might take a given number of sows to alter ground cover, how sow behavior changes with weather conditions and that burning increases soil nitrate levels.

Last Modified: 7/10/2014
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