Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This experiment was conducted to identify patterns of coping behavior in pigs in response to an objectively defined, moderately frustrating situation. Eight 5-wk-old gilts were placed in a group pen (4.3x6.1 m) divided in the middle by a 1.2 m-high wall to create (a) living-and-AM-feeding and (b) PM-feeding area (both 1.5x2.1 m). At AM feeding, each pig (in an individual feeder stall) was offered feed. Pigs were trained d 1-18, during the PM feeding, to stay in the 8 respective free-access trough spaces until finished eating. On d 19-25 only 6 trough spaces were open for the PM feeding, i.e. only 6 of the 8 pigs had access, and the other two were assumed to be moderately frustrated (and slightly hungry). Behavior of all pigs was video recorded for three 24-h periods at 72-h time-lapse speed on d 17 (prefrustration during PM feeding) and d 24 and 25 (frustration). Frequency and duration of stand, lie, walk, eat, mount other pig, dog-sit and oral-nasal contact with waterer, floor, other pig, and pen perimeter, were registered from video tapes for 2 pigs that fed at all PM feedings (retrospective category F) on d 19-25 and two pigs that most often did not feed (NF). Several main effects of category were found: duration of time standing (P=.0003), walking (P=.042), and contact with waterer (2.51 vs .24+/.35 min/24 h for NF vs F, respectively; P=.014) were greater for NF pigs. Pigs in NF spent less time in oral-nasal contact with the floor (.51 vs 4.2+/4.44 min/24 h; P=.003). These preliminary results confirm the existence of significant interindividual differences in behavior and suggest that background duration of certain maintenance and oral-nasal behavior patterns may be predictive of an individual pig's tendency to eventually be in the NF category.