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Risky behaviors performed by the piglet 72 hours after parturition that can contribute to pre-weaning mortality when housed in farrowing huts

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The objective was to compare the behavior of loose-housed outdoor litters that had one or more piglet mortalities (CR; n=4) compared to litters where no mortalities occurred (NC; n=4). The litter of piglets was observed using 10-min scan samples over 72 h from birth and individual piglets were continually observed 1 h prior to death. Postures, nursing, unknown, location within the hut, and vicinity to the sow were determined. There were no differences observed for any measures 1 h before a piglet's death. There were no differences for treatment or day by treatment over the 72 h for behaviors or vicinity to sow. There was a day effect with piglets becoming more inactive and nursing less often from d1 to d3. There was a day effect for vicinity to sow with piglets spending less time by the sow over the 3 d. Few behavioral differences were observed between treatments.

Keywords: Behavior; farrowing hut; outdoor; piglets

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA 2: USDA-ARS, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA 3: Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Pork Industry Institute, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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