Diurnal rhythms, locations and behavioural sequences associated with eliminative behaviours in fattening pigs

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Yuguang Guo, Xinming Lian, Peishi Yan
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
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Understanding eliminative behaviours in pigs is very important to maintain individual and pen cleanliness. In this experiment, twenty fattening pigs were housed in four concrete floor pens with a floor space of 3.25 m2 per pig and free accessibility of outdoor runs. We studied the diurnal rhythms, locations and behavioural sequences associated with eliminative behaviours in these pigs by videoing them for two consecutive days per week over a total study period of four weeks. A total of 2859 eliminating events were recorded and only three events occurred indoors. These elimination events followed a daily periodical pattern with the peak between 13:00 and 14:00 h and there was a significant positive correlation between the elimination and drinking. About 76.5 ± 1.26% of the outdoor elimination events were located in the corners. With the distance from corners increasing, the elimination decreased and moving and exploring increased. Pigs preferred corners as dunging areas intending to prevent them from being disturbed during elimination because that limited postures during eliminations made pigs become targets for tactile interactions by penmates. More tactile interactions received during than before eliminations could approved this deduction. Typical elimination sequences were exploring-elimination-moving and moving-elimination-moving. Among all elimination sequences, there were 68.1 ± 0.81% elimination events being observed following the exploring process and only 14.4 ± 0.31% followed immediately by the exploring. The reason maybe was that pigs confirmed the elimination locations by exploring before elimination and exploring after elimination was not necessary. We suggested that the provision of a suitable dunging area would contribute to good management and cleanliness of pens and pigs.


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