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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Behavior of Feeder Pigs Housed in Deep-Bedded "hoop" Structures

Authors
item Lay, Jr, Donald
item Phelps, Alayson - IOWA STATE UNIV
item Haussmann, Mark - IOWA STATE UNIV
item Daniels, Mike - IOWA STATE UNIV

Submitted to: International Society of Applied Ethology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2002
Publication Date: August 6, 2002
Citation: LAY JR, D.C., PHELPS, A., HAUSSMANN, M.F., DANIELS, M.J. BEHAVIOR OF FEEDER PIGS HOUSED IN DEEP-BEDDED "HOOP" STRUCTURES. INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF APPLIED ETHOLOGY. 2002. ABSTRACT P. 150.

Technical Abstract: Previous research in our laboratory has shown that, in comparison to total confinement housing of swine, swine raised in 'hoop' structures perform less aberrant behavior and more play behavior. However, behaviors such as agonistic interactions and belly nosing did occur in the housing systems, albeit at a much lower rate. Because pigs housed in hoop structures are subjected to fluctuations in environmental temperatures and extremes in temperature can have deleterious effects on behavior, this study was conducted to examine the effects that cold temperatures may have on the expression of behavior. Therefore, behaviors such as agonistic encounters, belly nosing and bar-biting were quantified during four, 1-week periods from October to December, when temperatures averaged from 13.9 to -11.9 degree C during the study period. Effective temperatures for the animals were enhanced in the hoop structure by heat generated by the decomposing bedded pack (ranging from approximately -1.1 degree C to 47 degree C). The total number of agonistic and abnormal behaviors increased during colder temperatures (P < .05). Bar-biting increased from 14.5 ± .70 to 74 ± 31 incidences per hoop (120 pigs1)/15 min. 'Wall-sucking' increased (P < .05) from 11.5 ± 7.8 to 55.0 ± 4.2 incidences per hoop (120 pigs)/15 min. Other behaviors such as agonistic encounters and belly nosing did not increase over the study period (P > .10). It is critical to remember that these differences in behaviors can not be attributed to temperature alone, as the pigs were gaining in age during the study period. Although some behaviors appear to occur at a greater rate during the later study periods, these rates are low. Thus further research to identify characteristics of those individuals performing aberrant behaviors may lead to strategies to optimize their welfare.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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