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Effects of Environmental Enrichment on Behaviour and Productivity of Growing Pigs

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Abstract:

This study examined the effects of enriching the environment on the behaviour and productivity of pigs, in an attempt to assess changes in welfare. A total of 102 pigs were housed in either barren or enriched housing from birth to slaughter. The barren environments were defined as intensive housing and the enriched environments incorporated extra space, an area which contained peat and straw in a rack. Enriching the environment reduced both the amount of time pigs spent inactive and the time involved in harmful social and aggressive behaviour. Tail biting was absent from the enriched environment but four pigs were removed from barren pens with severe tail damage. Pigs housed in enriched environments spent longer durations in exploratory behaviour than those in barren housing, and young pigs in enriched environments performed locomotory behaviour more frequently than their counterparts in barren environments. Overall growth rates were similar in both treatments. These results indicate that welfare is improved by enrichment with substrates and suggest that barren pens should be modified to provide these facilities.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; BEHAVIOUR; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; PIGS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1995-08-01

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