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Parity influences the demeanor of sows in group housing

Clarke, T., Pluske, J.R.ORCID: 0000-0002-7194-2164, Miller, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-4634-5819, Collins, T.ORCID: 0000-0003-4597-0812 and Fleming, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 (2017) Parity influences the demeanor of sows in group housing. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 21 (1). pp. 17-26.

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Across the globe, producers are moving from individual housing to group housing for sows during gestation. Producers typically group sows of a range of parities together, although the impacts are largely unknown. This study examined the behavioral expression at mixing for young, midparity, and older sows. Ten mixed-parity groups were filmed at mixing on a commercial piggery. One-minute clips were edited from continuous footage where focal sows of known parity could be identified, and scored for qualitative behavioral expression. Parity 2 and 6 sows were more calm/tired than Parity 4 sows, who were more active/energetic. Parity 2 sows were more curious/inquisitive than Parity 4 and 6 sows, who were more anxious/frustrated. Correlations between qualitative behavioral expression and activity indicated sows scored as more calm/tired spent a greater proportion of time standing, while sows scored as more active/energetic spent more time performing avoidance behavior. Different body language is likely to reflect physical or affective differences in how sows cope with mixing.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.
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