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Behaviour of liquid-fed growing pigs provided with straw in various amounts and frequencies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2014

L. C. Oxholm
Affiliation:
HERD – Centre for Herd-Oriented Education, Research and Development, Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Axeltorv 3, DK-1609 Copenhagen V, Denmark
H. V. Steinmetz
Affiliation:
Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Axeltorv 3, DK-1609 Copenhagen V, Denmark
H. P. Lahrmann
Affiliation:
Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Axeltorv 3, DK-1609 Copenhagen V, Denmark
M. B. F. Nielsen
Affiliation:
Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Axeltorv 3, DK-1609 Copenhagen V, Denmark
C. Amdi
Affiliation:
HERD – Centre for Herd-Oriented Education, Research and Development, Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
C. F. Hansen
Affiliation:
HERD – Centre for Herd-Oriented Education, Research and Development, Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg, Denmark
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Abstract

Straw possesses many characteristics that make it attractive to pigs and can therefore be effective in preventing negative penmate-directed behaviours. However, straw is difficult to handle in current vacuum slurry systems under most commercial conditions and can therefore only be used in limited amounts. To occupy pigs effectively, straw must remain attractive to pigs throughout the whole day; hence, have a certain degree of novelty. We investigated the penmate-directed behaviour of liquid-fed growing pigs in a production herd, assigned to five experimental treatments: 1×25, 1×50, 1×100, 2×50 and 4×25 g of chopped straw/pig per day, with 20 replicates of each treatment (pen was regarded as experimental unit). Behaviour was observed at two different growth stages; ~40 and 80 kg live weight of the pigs. Activity and exploratory behaviour directed at penmates, straw, pen components and the slatted floor were registered continuously for 15 min of each hour during day time (0600 to 2200 h) by use of video observation of three focal pigs per pen. The pigs were active for about one-third of the day corresponding to ~5 h/day. Of the active time, an average of 7% (35 min) was spent on penmate-directed behaviour. The pigs were more active and increased their straw-directed behaviour when provided with 100 g straw/pig per day compared with 25 and 50 g (P<0.001). However, penmate-directed behaviour was not reduced with an increased amount of straw (P>0.05), and there was no effect on pigs’ behaviour when straw provision was increased per day (P>0.05). Pigs became less active and reduced their straw-directed activities when their weight increased from 40 to 80 kg live weight (P<0.001), but the amount of penmate-directed behaviour was similar (P>0.05). Further, the residual straw results indicated that perhaps a more frequent straw provision could help establish a more even level of fresh available straw during the day. However, the frequent straw provision did not occupy pigs more than one daily allocation did. In conclusion, there was no difference in penmate-directed behaviour of the pigs when given 25 or 50 g of straw/pig per day compared with 100 g of straw/pig per day, nor were there any difference when 100 g of straw/pig per day was provided more frequently.

Type
Research Article
Information
animal , Volume 8 , Issue 11 , November 2014 , pp. 1889 - 1897
Copyright
© The Animal Consortium 2014 

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