Influence of enrichment materials on the behaviour and productive traits of fattening pigs
Keywords:pig, welfare, aggressive behaviour, enrichment materials, cortisol level
In industrial complexes, the environment for fattening pigs has limited space and often does not respect natural behaviour of pigs. The implementation of EU legislation in Ukraine requires from farmers to use enrichment materials that improve the welfare of pigs. This article shows possible solution for big industrial challenge – creating of comfortable conditions for pigs, which meet their ethological needs. The experiment was performed on 180 pigs. From 77 days of age, all experimental animals were divided into three groups (on the principle of analogues) of 60 heads in each. As criteria of aggressive social behaviour the fights and biting were chosen. It was found that at the first period of fattening in pigs of the control group (no enrichment materials) 24 cases of biting were registered, in animals with straw blocks (experimental group II) – 6, with plastic bottles filled with grain (experimental group III) – 4 cases. At the second period of fattening, the situation regarding intragroup aggression was identical to the first one, which was reflected by the level of the cortisol in the blood serum. Among pigs that had free access to enrichment materials, a significant increase in their live weight by 2.4–5.8%, and in average daily gain by 1.4–27.6% compared with animals in the control group was registered. This study aims to prove that the use of enrichment materials for fattening pigs helps to identify their natural behaviour in industrial complexes, avoids social aggression, increases productivity and improves their welfare.
Amdi, C. et al. (2015). Pen-mate directed behaviour in ad libitum fed pigs given different quantities and frequencies of straw. Livestock Science, 171: 44-51. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2014.11.005
Apple, J. K. and Craig, J. V. (1992). The influence of pen size on toy preference of growing pigs. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 35:149-155. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(92)90005-V
Barnett, J. L. et al. (2001). A review of the welfare issues for sows and piglets in relation to housing. Australian Journal of Agricultural, 52:128. DOI: 10.1071/AR00057
Beattie, V. E. et al. (2000). Influence of environmental enrichment on the behaviour, performance and meat quality of domestic pig. Livestock Production Science, 65(1-2):71-79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0301-6226(99)00179-7
Beattie, V. E. and O’Connell, N. E. (2002). Relationship between rooting behaviour and foraging in growing pigs. Animal Welfare, 3:295-303.
Boissy, A. et al. (2007). Assessment of positive emotions in animals to improve their welfare. Physiology & Behavior, 92:375-397. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.02.003
Bolhuis, J. E. et al. (2005). Behavioural development of pigs with different coping characteristics in barren and substrate-enriched housing conditions. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 93:213-228. DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2005.01.006
Casal-Plana, N. et al. (2017). Influence of enrichment material and herbal compounds in the behaviour and performance of growing pigs. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 195:38-43. DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2017.06.002
Cocchi, M. et al. (2009). Do mood disorders play a role in pig welfare? Italian Journal of Animal Science, 8(4):691-704. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/ijas.2009.691
De Jong, I. C. et. al. (2000). Effect of environmental enrichment on behavioral responses to novelty, learning and memory and the circadian rhythm in cortisol in growing pigs. Physiology & Behavior, 68(4):571-578. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-9384(99)00212-7
Fraser, D., et. al. (1991). Effect of straw on the behaviour of growing pigs. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 30:307-318.
Haigh, A.,et. al. (2019). An investigation into the effectiveness of compressed straw blocks in reducing abnormal behaviour in growing pigs. Animal, 13:2476-2585. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731119000715
Haigh, A. and O’Driscoll, K. (2019). An investigation into pig farmer’s perceptions and experiences of tail biting. Porcine Health Management, 5:30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40813-019-0135-8
Harley, S. et. al. (2014). Docking the value of pigmeat? Prevalence and financial implications of welfare lesions in Irish slaughter pigs. Animal Welfare, 23(3):275-285. DOI:10.7120/096272220.127.116.115
Kittawornrat, A. and Zimmerman, J.J. (2011). Toward a better understanding of pig behavior and pig welfare. Animal Health Research Reviews, 12: 25-32. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1466252310000174
Lykhach, A. V. et. al. (2020). Influence of toys on behavioural patterns of pigs and their association with the concentration of serotonin in blood plasma. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 11:146-150. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15421/022022
Oliveira, R. F.et. al. (2016). Environmental enrichment improves the performance and behavior of piglets in the nursery phase. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 68(2):415-421. DOI:10.1590/1678-4162-8253
Ruis, M. A. W. et. al. (1997). The circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol in growing pigs, effects of age, gender and stress. Physiology & Behavior, 62(3):623-630. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-9384(97)00177-7
Scollo, A. et. al. (2013). Tail docking and the rearing of heavy pigs: the role played by gender and the presence of straw in the control of tail biting blood parameters, behaviour and skin lesions. Veterinary Science Research Journal, 95(2):825-830. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2013.06.019
Stolba, A. and Wood-Gush, D. G. M. (1989). The behaviour of pigs in a semi-natural environment. Animal Production Science, 48:419-425. DOI:10.1017/S0003356100040411
Telkänranta, H. et. al. (2014). Fresh wood reduces tail and ear biting and increases exploratory behaviour in finishing pigs. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 161:51-59. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.09.007
Tomohiro, Y. et. al. (2012). Effects of outdoor housing of piglets on behavior, stress reaction and meat characteristics. Asian-Austalas Journal Animal Science, 25(6):886-894. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.11380
Turner, S. P. et. al. (2006). Heritability of post-mixing aggressiveness in grower- stage pigs and its relationship with production traits. Journal Animal Science, 82:615–620. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1079/ASC200678
Tuyttens, F. A. M. (2005). The importance of straw for pig and cattle welfare: a review. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 92(3):261-282. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2005.05.007
Van de Weerd, H. A. and Day, J. E. (2009). A review of environmental enrichment for pigs housed in intensive housing systems. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 116(1): 1-20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2008.08.001
Wemelsfelder, F. Et. al. (2000). Diversity of behaviour during novel object tests is reduced in pigs housed in substrate-impoverished conditions. Animal Behavior, 60:385-394. DOI: 10.1006/anbe.2000.1466
Zebunke, M. et. al. (2013). Effects of cognitive enrichment on behavioural and physiological reactions of pigs. Physiology & Behavior, 118:70-79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.05.005
Zonderland, J. J. et. al. (2010). Gender effects on tail damage development in single-or mixed-sex groups of weaned piglets. Livestock Science, 129(1-3):151-158. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2010.01.018
Copyright (c) 2022 Acta Fytotechnica et zootechnica
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.