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Activity of fast growing broiler chickens is known to decrease at two to three weeks of age, whereas slower growing hybrids are not only more active, but remain so throughout the growth period (Reiter and Bessei, 1998). The present experiment aimed to monitor diurnal patterns and time courses of activity in groups of commercial broilers fed one of two feed types differing in energy content. Activity was assessed using passive infrared detectors (PIDs), which sense movement of an object with a temperature different from that of the background.
One of the costs of living in a group is the imposition by certain group members of constraints on the behaviour of others (Mendl and Deag, 1995). This appears to be the case with feeding behaviour where individual pigs show a large number of small meals but group members have fewer larger meals (de Haer and de Vries, 1993). Morgan et al. (1997) found that grouped pigs given straw bedding had more smaller meals than those without, suggesting some alleviation of the group constraint. The aim of this experiment was to investigate if changing straw provision resulted in similar and reversible effects in this behaviour.
120 male pigs (40±0.4kg) were used in three blocks each with 4 pens of 10 pigs. In each block of 42d duration one pen had no straw throughout (treatment A); one pen had no straw for 21d (period 1) followed by straw for 21d (period 2)(B); one pen had straw followed by no straw(C) and one pen had straw throughout (D). The pens were situated in a naturally ventilated building with light from 0600 to 2000h.
Short-term feeding behaviour (STFB) has been used to elucidate the physiological mechanisms which control eating. It has been proposed as a means by which to predict voluntary food intake, and could be used to quantify behavioural characteristics of the cow. The first step in assessing the usefulness of STFB for these purposes is to identify the major factors which influence STFB. The aim of the study reported here was to evaluate, in dairy cows, the differences in STFB resulting from two different foods, the effect of stage of lactation on STFB, and the effect on STFB of changing from one food to another.
High producing dairy cows have been found to be more susceptible to disease (Jones et al., 1994; Göhn et al., 1995) raising concerns about the welfare of the modern dairy cow. Genotype and number of lactations may affect various health problems differently, and their relative importance may vary. The categorical nature and low incidence of health events necessitates large data-sets, but the use of data collected across herds may introduce unwanted variation. Analysis of a comprehensive data-set from a single herd was carried out to investigate the effects of genetic line and lactation number on the incidence of various health and reproductive problems.
Maternal oestrogen and progesterone have been shown to be important in the initiation of maternal behaviour (e.g. Shipka and Ford, 1991). It has also been suggested by Csermely and Nicosia (1991) that there is an association between social rank and the performance of maternal behaviour. This study investigated the relationships between social behaviour during pregnancy, levels of sex steroids around parturition and the level of maternal care shown by gilts. Sows and gilts are generally housed in farrowing crates during parturition and lactation. This study also ascertained whether or not the farrowing environment affected sex steroid concentrations.
Various types of computerised feed intake recording systems are used by research centres and breeding companies to monitor the individual food intake of pigs kept in groups. Most are single-spaced, allowing only one animal to feed at any one time, and they differ mainly in the design of the entrance and the level of protection offered to the feeding pig. The aim of the present experiment was to investigate the effect of single-space feeder entrance design on the performance and feeding behaviour of growing pigs by using designs offering three levels of protection.
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