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The development of harmful social behaviour in pigs with intact tails and different enrichment backgrounds in two housing systems

  • H. A. Van de Weerd (a1), C. M. Docking (a2), J. E. L. Day (a2) and S. A. Edwards (a1)
Abstract

The present study compared the performance and development of adverse behaviours of pigs with intact tails, when housed in a straw-bedded system or a part-slatted system enriched with a commercial device. The pigs had previously received different enrichment treatments (rooting box, liquid dispenser, straw bedding or none), either in the farrowing crate or with their lactating dam or post weaning. The pigs were mixed in groups at 10 weeks of age and from then on, every 2 weeks, behavioural observations were performed, focusing mainly on harmful social behaviour and enrichment use. The study showed that pigs with undocked tails can be at high risk of tail biting in part-slatted systems, whereas the straw bedding prevented the development of tail biting. The immediate effects of the environment seemed to exert a greater influence on the development of adverse behaviour than early life enrichment and adding a simple enrichment device could not compensate for the deficiencies in the barren environment of the part-slatted system. In order to prevent vice, functional design of environmental enrichment is required.

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Corresponding author
E-mail: heleen.vandeweerd@adas.co.uk
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Pig and Poultry Research Group, ADAS Gleadthorpe, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG20 9PF, UK.
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Animal Science
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