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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208806

Title: The Effects of Exercise on Production, Interbirth Intervals, and Lying Behaviors in Gestating Stall-Housed Gilts

item McMunn, Kimberly
item Marchant, Jeremy
item Lay Jr, Donald

Submitted to: International Society of Applied Ethology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2007
Publication Date: 7/30/2007
Citation: Schenck, E.L., McMunn, K.A., Nielsen, B.D., Richert, B.T., Marchant Forde, J.N., Lay Jr, D.C. 2007. The Effects of Exercise on Production, Interbirth Intervals, and Lying Behaviors in Gestating Stall-Housed Gilts. In: (Eds. F. galindo and L. Avarez). Proceedings of the 41st International Congress of the International Society of Applied Ethology. p. 61.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Lameness in breeding age gilts and sows is a major cause of early culling, causing increase economic losses and welfare concerns. Stall housed sows tend to have more joint, foot and leg problems than group housed sows. The aims of this study were to determine if exercise would decrease lameness and have an affect on production, inter-birth intervals and lying behaviors during lactation. The study was composed of three treatment groups; control (C, n=5), high exercise (H, n=7, 121.9 m 2 d/wk and 426.7 m for 3 d/wk) and low exercise (L, n=4, 121.9 m 5 d/ wk). All gilts were stall housed for the duration of gestation and H and L gilts were exercised from d 35 to 110 of gestation. Gilts were moved into farrowing crates on d 112 of gestation for approximately 24 d. Video recorders were used to record inter-birth intervals. After farrowing, lying behavior was recorded for 3 d. Lying behavior was measured by recording the time of 3 different stages of lying (standing to kneeling, kneeling to rotating shoulders, lowering hind limbs to ground). GLM procedures of SAS was used to analyze data. There was no difference in the length of gestation, number of piglets born alive or weaned, litter birth weight, adjusted average piglet weaning weight, and average interbirth interval (P>0.05) among treatments. The C group took more time to lie (P<0.05) than the H group in stages 2, 3 and the total lying time was greater. In conclusion, exercise during gestation has no effects on production variables or average interbirth intervals, but it does influence lying behaviors.