Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate

S. Jarvis, S.K. Calvert, J. Stevenson, N. van Leeuwen, A.B. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research has shown that pre-parturient primiparous pigs (gilts) housed in behaviourally restrictive farrowing crates without straw redirect their nest-building behaviour to non-manipulable substrates such as the bars of the crate. These gilts also show elevated plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, particularly around the peak of nest-building activity, when compared to gilts in larger pens that have been provided with a manipulable substrate (straw). It remains unclear whether these behavioural and physiological responses to crating result from the lack of a suitable nesting substrate or from the restricted space. This study investigated the effects of space (crate [C] versus pen [P]) and straw (straw [S] versus no straw [NS]) using a 2 × 2 factorial design. Thirty-four gilts were implanted with an indwelling jugular catheter at around 12 days before parturition. They were moved to one of the four environments five days before parturition, and blood sampling and recording of behaviour were carried out during the pre-parturient period. Penned gilts (P), irrespective of straw availability, spent more time standing and walking and performed more total substrate-directed behaviour than crated (C) gilts. When straw was not available to penned gilts, a large proportion of their substrate-directed behaviour was redirected to the floor. Space also had an effect on ACTH and cortisol levels across the entire pre-parturient phase, with C gilts having higher levels than (P) gilts irrespective of straw availability, but particularly so at the peak of nest-building activity. There was no effect of straw on ACTH or cortisol levels. Overall, it appears that increased space, perhaps through allowing locomotion, increases substrate-directed behaviour of pre-parturient gilts. When space is available but straw is absent, pre-parturient gilts redirect their nest-building behaviour to the floor. The ability to express substrate-directed behaviour as a result of increased space is reflected in lower levels of indicators of physiological stress
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-384
JournalAnimal Welfare
Volume11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Fingerprint

Sus scrofa
Straw
gilts
Swine
straw
Chemical activation
Parturition
swine
Substrates
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Hydrocortisone
corticotropin
cortisol
crates
Physiological Stress
Aptitude
Indwelling Catheters
Locomotion
Availability
Walking

Keywords

  • ranging domestic pigs
  • environmental stimuli
  • cortisol secretion
  • prepartum behavior
  • farrowing behavior
  • plasma-cortisol
  • sow behavior
  • straw
  • piglets
  • progesterone

Cite this

Jarvis, S. ; Calvert, S.K. ; Stevenson, J. ; van Leeuwen, N. ; Lawrence, A.B. / Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate. In: Animal Welfare. 2002 ; Vol. 11, No. 4. pp. 371-384.
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abstract = "Previous research has shown that pre-parturient primiparous pigs (gilts) housed in behaviourally restrictive farrowing crates without straw redirect their nest-building behaviour to non-manipulable substrates such as the bars of the crate. These gilts also show elevated plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, particularly around the peak of nest-building activity, when compared to gilts in larger pens that have been provided with a manipulable substrate (straw). It remains unclear whether these behavioural and physiological responses to crating result from the lack of a suitable nesting substrate or from the restricted space. This study investigated the effects of space (crate [C] versus pen [P]) and straw (straw [S] versus no straw [NS]) using a 2 × 2 factorial design. Thirty-four gilts were implanted with an indwelling jugular catheter at around 12 days before parturition. They were moved to one of the four environments five days before parturition, and blood sampling and recording of behaviour were carried out during the pre-parturient period. Penned gilts (P), irrespective of straw availability, spent more time standing and walking and performed more total substrate-directed behaviour than crated (C) gilts. When straw was not available to penned gilts, a large proportion of their substrate-directed behaviour was redirected to the floor. Space also had an effect on ACTH and cortisol levels across the entire pre-parturient phase, with C gilts having higher levels than (P) gilts irrespective of straw availability, but particularly so at the peak of nest-building activity. There was no effect of straw on ACTH or cortisol levels. Overall, it appears that increased space, perhaps through allowing locomotion, increases substrate-directed behaviour of pre-parturient gilts. When space is available but straw is absent, pre-parturient gilts redirect their nest-building behaviour to the floor. The ability to express substrate-directed behaviour as a result of increased space is reflected in lower levels of indicators of physiological stress",
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author = "S. Jarvis and S.K. Calvert and J. Stevenson and {van Leeuwen}, N. and A.B. Lawrence",
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Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate. / Jarvis, S.; Calvert, S.K.; Stevenson, J.; van Leeuwen, N.; Lawrence, A.B.

In: Animal Welfare, Vol. 11, No. 4, 2002, p. 371-384.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate

AU - Jarvis, S.

AU - Calvert, S.K.

AU - Stevenson, J.

AU - van Leeuwen, N.

AU - Lawrence, A.B.

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N2 - Previous research has shown that pre-parturient primiparous pigs (gilts) housed in behaviourally restrictive farrowing crates without straw redirect their nest-building behaviour to non-manipulable substrates such as the bars of the crate. These gilts also show elevated plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, particularly around the peak of nest-building activity, when compared to gilts in larger pens that have been provided with a manipulable substrate (straw). It remains unclear whether these behavioural and physiological responses to crating result from the lack of a suitable nesting substrate or from the restricted space. This study investigated the effects of space (crate [C] versus pen [P]) and straw (straw [S] versus no straw [NS]) using a 2 × 2 factorial design. Thirty-four gilts were implanted with an indwelling jugular catheter at around 12 days before parturition. They were moved to one of the four environments five days before parturition, and blood sampling and recording of behaviour were carried out during the pre-parturient period. Penned gilts (P), irrespective of straw availability, spent more time standing and walking and performed more total substrate-directed behaviour than crated (C) gilts. When straw was not available to penned gilts, a large proportion of their substrate-directed behaviour was redirected to the floor. Space also had an effect on ACTH and cortisol levels across the entire pre-parturient phase, with C gilts having higher levels than (P) gilts irrespective of straw availability, but particularly so at the peak of nest-building activity. There was no effect of straw on ACTH or cortisol levels. Overall, it appears that increased space, perhaps through allowing locomotion, increases substrate-directed behaviour of pre-parturient gilts. When space is available but straw is absent, pre-parturient gilts redirect their nest-building behaviour to the floor. The ability to express substrate-directed behaviour as a result of increased space is reflected in lower levels of indicators of physiological stress

AB - Previous research has shown that pre-parturient primiparous pigs (gilts) housed in behaviourally restrictive farrowing crates without straw redirect their nest-building behaviour to non-manipulable substrates such as the bars of the crate. These gilts also show elevated plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, particularly around the peak of nest-building activity, when compared to gilts in larger pens that have been provided with a manipulable substrate (straw). It remains unclear whether these behavioural and physiological responses to crating result from the lack of a suitable nesting substrate or from the restricted space. This study investigated the effects of space (crate [C] versus pen [P]) and straw (straw [S] versus no straw [NS]) using a 2 × 2 factorial design. Thirty-four gilts were implanted with an indwelling jugular catheter at around 12 days before parturition. They were moved to one of the four environments five days before parturition, and blood sampling and recording of behaviour were carried out during the pre-parturient period. Penned gilts (P), irrespective of straw availability, spent more time standing and walking and performed more total substrate-directed behaviour than crated (C) gilts. When straw was not available to penned gilts, a large proportion of their substrate-directed behaviour was redirected to the floor. Space also had an effect on ACTH and cortisol levels across the entire pre-parturient phase, with C gilts having higher levels than (P) gilts irrespective of straw availability, but particularly so at the peak of nest-building activity. There was no effect of straw on ACTH or cortisol levels. Overall, it appears that increased space, perhaps through allowing locomotion, increases substrate-directed behaviour of pre-parturient gilts. When space is available but straw is absent, pre-parturient gilts redirect their nest-building behaviour to the floor. The ability to express substrate-directed behaviour as a result of increased space is reflected in lower levels of indicators of physiological stress

KW - ranging domestic pigs

KW - environmental stimuli

KW - cortisol secretion

KW - prepartum behavior

KW - farrowing behavior

KW - plasma-cortisol

KW - sow behavior

KW - straw

KW - piglets

KW - progesterone

M3 - Article

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SP - 371

EP - 384

JO - Animal Welfare

JF - Animal Welfare

SN - 0962-7286

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ER -