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The short-term behavioural response of sows, but not gilts, to a social stimulus is related to sow aggressiveness in groups

Citation

Verdon, M and Morrison, RS and Rice, M and Butler, KL and Hemsworth, PH, The short-term behavioural response of sows, but not gilts, to a social stimulus is related to sow aggressiveness in groups, Behavioural Processes, 140 pp. 216-225. ISSN 0376-6357 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2017 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2017.04.013

Abstract

This study examined relationships between the behavioural response of pregnant gilts (n = 200, gestation 1) and sows (n = 200, gestation 2) to a live, similarly-aged female pig (unfamiliar pig test, UPT) and to a fibre-glass model pig (model pig test, MPT), and aggressive behaviour on the day after mixing (day 2). Sows with a short latency to make contact with an unfamiliar sow in the UPT were more likely to deliver high levels of aggression at day 2 of gestation 2 (P = 0.005), but this relationship was stronger when a model pig was used (P < 0.001). Similarly, sows with a long duration of tactile contact with the model pig in the MPT were more likely to deliver high levels of aggression at day 2 of gestation 2 (P = 0.015), but this relationship was weaker than that between aggression and the latency to contact the model pig. When the terms the latency to contact the unfamiliar pig in the UPT and the model pig in the MPT, as well as the duration of contact with the model pig in the MPT, were included in an overall model of aggression at day 2 of gestation 2, behaviour towards the unfamiliar pig became not statistically significant (P > 0.05). A strong relationship was not apparent with gilts (P > 0.05). Thus, the socially inexperienced pig may not be an ideal model for sow behaviour. This study indicates that sows with a short latency to contact a model pig are more likely to be aggressive when mixed into groups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sow aggression, model pig, predicting aggression, stall-test, temperament
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal Behaviour
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Other Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Field:Animal Welfare
Author:Verdon, M (Dr Megan Verdon)
ID Code:120537
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2017-08-28
Last Modified:2017-09-11
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