Music during play-time: Using context conditioning as a tool to improve welfare in piglets

F.H. de Jonge, H. Boleij, A.M. Baars, S. Dudink, B.M. Spruijt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this experiment, we investigated whether music can facilitate play behaviour in piglets after weaning, when that music had been presented preweaning as a contextual cue associated with access to a playroom. One group of piglets was given daily access to a playroom preweaning while music was played during the entire play period (Playroom group, n = 6 pens). The control group was daily exposed to the music as well, but this group was not given access to the playroom (NO Playroom group; n = 6 pens). It was hypothesized that replay of music post weaning (on post-weaning days W2, W3 and W6) would facilitate play behaviour above and beyond the previously reported effects of preweaning playroom exposure per se. The results confirm that music replay post weaning does facilitate play behaviour in the Playroom group. The results also showed that playroom exposure preweaning reduced the number of injuries post weaning (W1, W2 and W3). In contrast with our expectations, music replay also facilitated play behaviour in the control group, although significantly less so than in the Playroom group. The results are discussed in relation to the possibilities to use music its a tool to improve welfare in animal husbandry systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-148
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number3-apr
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • post-weaning behavior
  • environmental enrichment
  • anticipatory behavior
  • secondary reinforcer
  • agonistic behavior
  • domestic pigs
  • performance
  • rats
  • extinction
  • hierarchy

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