Stability of social hierarchy in growing female pigs and pregnant sows

Conflicting results between dominance tests and repetitions of these tests over time in pigs may result from a lack of stability of their social hierarchy. The objectives of this study were to compare five methods to measure social hierarchy and to examine the stability of test results over time in groups of growing females and […]

Interaction between sows’ aggressiveness post mixing and skin lesions recorded several weeks later

Group housing of pigs leads inevitably to more or less serious agonistic interactions during the establishment of the social rank order of the group. In order to reduce the number of severe agonistic interactions and thus the negative effects on well-being and performance, the use of genetic selection of calm sows maybe a possible strategy. […]

The welfare implications of large litter size in the domestic pig I: biological factors

Increasing litter size has long been a goal of pig breeders and producers, and may have implications for pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) welfare. This paper reviews the scientific evidence on biological factors affecting sow and piglet welfare in relation to large litter size. It is concluded that, in a number of ways, large litter size […]

The effect of ketoprofen on post-partum behaviour in sows

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled trial was conducted in order to estimate pain-related behavioural changes of sows in early lactation. Ketoprofen (KET) was used (3 mg/kg BW) intramuscularly for three consecutive days post-partum (p.p.) on 19 sows. Nineteen sows were used as a control group and they received sodium chloride as placebo (PLAC). All 38 […]

Hierarchy formation in newly mixed, group housed sows and management strategies aimed at reducing its impact

Aggression is at its highest when sows are first introduced to new animals and hierarchies are being established. Thus, methods to reduce aggression should focus on this period. The aggression that occurs during mixing results in physiological stress responses, which can have detrimental effects on sow welfare and reproductive parameters. In pigs, the short-term nature […]

Effects of prepartum housing environment on abnormal behaviour, the farrowing process, and interactions with circulating oxytocin in sows

We evaluated the effects on sows of prepartum housing environment on bar-biting (BB) behaviour prior to parturition, farrowing duration from first to tenth piglets, litter size, and circulating oxytocin (OT) concentrations during birth of the first five piglets. A total of 35 sows, approximately seven days before the expected parturition date, were housed in: (1) […]

Effects of stage of gestation at mixing on aggression, injuries and stress in sows

Confinement of breeding sows to stalls is a controversial welfare issue, and there is a worldwide move to house gestating sows in groups. We examined the effects of day of mixing following insemination on aggression, injuries and stress in sows. A total of 800 sows were used in this experiment and we examined the effects […]

Does the presence of shoulder ulcers affect the behaviour of sows?

Shoulder ulcers are common in lactating sows. This case-control study compared behaviour of sows with shoulder ulcers (U-sows; N = 19) versus controls (C-sows; N = 19) and involved multiparous LxY sows, 14.7 ± 0.3 days post partum, kept in farrowing crates in a Danish herd. U-sows had at least one shoulder ulcer. Behavioural data were based on video recordings during […]

Application of the Welfare Quality® animal welfare assessment system in Finnish pig production, part I: Identification of principal components

The Welfare Quality® (WQ) on-farm welfare assessment protocols for fattening pigs (n = 95 farms) and sows, as well as suckling piglets (n = 103 farms), were applied on Finnish farms. In order to identify distinct types of welfare problems (WPTs) Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was applied to the pooled animal-based items within both categories […]

Effect of different management techniques to enhance colostrum intake on piglets’ growth and mortality

An experiment was conducted to study the effect four different management techniques to enhance colostrum intake had on piglet and litter performance. Treatments were performed on piglets born weighing 1.30 kg or less (SP) within 6 h of birth: control group (CON); split-nursing of the litter for 2h allowing only the SP piglets free access […]