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Behavioural and physiological indicators of piglet survival

  • E M Baxter (a1), S Jarvis (a1), R B D’Eath (a1), D W Ross (a1), S K Robson (a1), M Farish (a1), L Sherwood (a1) and S A Edwards (a2)...

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Pre-weaning piglet mortality is currently 11.8% of piglets born alive in indoor units (MLC, 2005) and is a major welfare concern and a continuing production problem within the pig industry. The farrowing crate was implemented with some success to decrease the amount of crushing of piglets (Edwards & Fraser, 1997). However, this system is restrictive, limits the behaviour and compromises the welfare of the sow (Jarvis et al., 2001). There is growing pressure to abolish this technology in favour of less restrictive systems. It is therefore vital to identify behavioural and physiological characteristics relating to piglet survival, which can then be influential in alternative systems. Important factors in relation to piglet survival include birth weight, birth order, and adequate thermoregulation (Tuchscherer et al. 2001). The aim of this study was to identify additional behavioural and physiological indicators, which could predict piglet survival.

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Edwards, S.A. & Fraser, D. 1997. Housing systems for farrowing and lactation. The Pig Journal 39, 77-89.
Jarvis, S., Vander Vegt, B.J., Lawrence, A.B., McLean, K.A., Deans, L.A., Chirnside, J. & Calvert, S.K. 2001. The effect of parity and environmental restriction on behavioural and physiological responses of pre-parturient pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71, 203-216
Meat Livestock Commission, 2005. Pig yearbook 2005
Tuchscherer, M., Puppe, B., Tuchscherer, A. & Tiemann, U. 2000. Early Identification of Neonates at Risk: Traits of Newborn Piglets with Respect to Survival. Theriogenology 54, 371-388.

Behavioural and physiological indicators of piglet survival

  • E M Baxter (a1), S Jarvis (a1), R B D’Eath (a1), D W Ross (a1), S K Robson (a1), M Farish (a1), L Sherwood (a1) and S A Edwards (a2)...

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