Intermittent suckling causes a transient increase in cortisol that does not appear to compromise selected measures of piglet welfare and stress
Turpin, D.L., Langendijk, P., Chen, T-Y, Lines, D. and Pluske, J. (2016) Intermittent suckling causes a transient increase in cortisol that does not appear to compromise selected measures of piglet welfare and stress. Animals, 6 (3).
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This study tested the hypothesis that piglets subjected to intermittent suckling (IS) would show changes in physiological and behavioral indices indicative of compromised welfare in the peri-weaning period. A total of 21 primiparous sows and their litters were allocated to either a control treatment (n = 10) where piglets were weaned conventionally, or an IS treatment (n = 11) where piglets were separated daily from their sows for 8 h starting the week before weaning. Performance, physiological and behavioral measures were taken at various time points during the week before and after weaning. Plasma cortisol levels were higher (p = 0.01) in IS piglets 7 d before weaning. Regardless of treatment, the N:L ratio at 3 d and 7 d after weaning was higher (p < 0.05) than that at 1 d before weaning. The IS piglets ate more creep feed during lactation (p < 0.05), and there was a tendency for the IS piglets to gain more weight between 3 d and 7 d after weaning (p < 0.1). This study showed that, aside from an increase in cortisol at the start of IS, piglets subjected to IS did not display physiological or behavioral changes indicative of compromised welfare.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Veterinary and Life Sciences|
|Copyright:||© 2016 MDPI AG|
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