Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/23/2002
Publication Date: 7/24/2003
Citation: SMITH, H.K., SCOTT, K.A., TOSCANO, M.J., DANIELS, K., LAY JR, D.C. THE ISOLATION OF SIMULATED UDDER ELEMENTS TO DECREASE DANGER TO PIGLETS DUE TO CRUSHING. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. V. 85(SUPPL. 1): ABSTRACT P. 26. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Three d post-farrowing is the critical period in which sows are more likely to overlay or crush piglets. Crushing accounts for 4.8 to 18 % of piglet mortality. Previous studies found that a simulated udder (SU) decreased the danger of piglet crushing by drawing the piglets away from the dam. The current study was designed to compare the possible attractants of heat, odor, and tactile properties when used with the SU. In each of the 3 experiments, 20 crossbred commercial sows (n = 10 per treatment) and their litters (mean = 9.5) were utilized. All farrowing stalls were equipped with heat lamps and video data were obtained using continuous time-lapse photography (1 frame/.4 s) from 12 to 72 h post-farrowing while the sow was standing using 1-min scan samples and recording the number of piglets using the specific SU or the control treatment. The data were analyzed using generalized estimating equations. Experiment 1 tested the original SU without the odor component of the dam's smell on the cloth against only a heat lamp as the control. Experiment 2 compared the dam's odor on the cloth compared to the cloth alone. Finally, Experiment 3 tested the cloth alone against the heat lamp. Piglet mortality due to crushing was not different in any of the experiments (P > 0.10). The results of Experiment 1 showed no differences between the SU without the dam's odor and the control heat lamp (P > 0.10). In Experiment 2, the only treatment difference was found in the 12 to 24 h period with the cloth without odor, attracting a higher number of pigs than the cloth with odor (.81 and .63 respectively, P = 0.005) Data from Experiment 3 indicate that more piglets were attracted to the cloth without odor (estimated probability = .85) compared to the control of the heat lamp alone (.67, P = 0.005). Thus, pigs are attracted to several stimuli, of those tested in these experiments, tactile properties are substantially potent. These results provide encouraging data for further explorations to decrease the crushing danger to piglets.