Seitz (1954) claimed the infant animal is more susceptible to the long-range effects of experience than the adult animal. The effects of infantile experience has been observed in the pig. Wood-Gush and Beilharz (1983) found that pigs reared in a bare environment did not use substrate, that was provided in later life, to the same extent as pigs which always had access to it. Schouten (1991) found that pigs which had spent the first few weeks of life in a barren environment were more restless in the growing and fattening periods than pigs which had spent their early life in enriched environments.
This study investigated the effects of the housing environment in the first six weeks of life on the behaviour of pigs in the growing and fattening stages.
In a cross-over study, which examined the effect of change of environment at weaning, 96 piglets in 16 groups each of six littermates were allocated to a 2 x 2 factorial experiment. There were two environments (barren and enriched) and two growth periods, birth to weaning at six weeks and weaning to slaughter at 20 weeks. Intensive husbandry conditions were defined as barren environments. The enriched environment changed at weaning.