Effects of floor-feeding and the presence of a foraging substrate on the behaviour and stress physiological response of individually housed gilts

J.A. de Leeuw, E.D. Ekkel, A.W. Jongbloed, M.W.A. Verstegen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Both restricted feeding and barren housing have a negative influence on sow welfare. The aim of this study was to test whether sows that have to search for their feed in a substrate on the floor show less stereotyped (and other abnormal) behaviour and have a lower physiological stress response. In three batches, 96 gilts were housed individually in two rooms in 3.1 m2 pens with 1.9 m2 solid floor. In a 2×2 factorial design either wood shavings (S) or no substrate (NS) were provided on the floor, and 900 g of feed was provided twice daily (06:30 and 15:00 h) either in a trough (T) or on the floor (F). In weeks 8¿12, behaviour was scan-sampled once in the periods 07:00¿09:00 h (P1), 10:00¿12:00 h (P2), and 13:00¿15:00 h (P3). Data from the 5 weeks were pooled per animal. Video recordings (24 h) in week 12 or 13 were scan-sampled for `standing¿. Saliva samples were taken in week 11 at 2 h intervals during 24 h and measured for cortisol. Spontaneously voided morning-urine was sampled in weeks 2, 7 and 12 or 13 for determination of ratios of adrenaline (A) and noradrenaline (NA) with creatinine (CR). Most effects that were found were due to substrate presence. Main findings were that compared with S-animals, NS-animals stood more during the dark period (4.8% versus 3.0%; P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-310
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • circadian-rhythm
  • growing pigs
  • stereotypic behavior
  • salivary cortisol
  • pregnant sows
  • female pigs
  • straw
  • performance
  • provision
  • fiber

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