Effects of fattening boars in mixed or single sex groups and split marketing on pig welfare
Our aim was to evaluate the effects of single or mixed sex fattening of boars and split marketing (SM) on pig welfare. Female (n = 10), male (n = 10) and mixed sex (n = 10) groups were fattened to 105 kg. Two focal pigs per pen were selected for continuous behaviour observations and skin lesion inspections. Aggressive and sexual behaviours were recorded during feeding. One week prior to slaughter the three heaviest pigs in half of the pens were marketed. There was more sexual behaviour in mixed and male groups. However, there was less agonistic behaviour in mixed and female compared to male groups. SM male groups tended to have higher lesion scores than non-SM male groups. There was more mounting in non-SM mixed groups than in both SM and non-SM female groups. The welfare of boars was improved in mixed sex groups but females fared better in single sex groups. Split marketing reduced the welfare of pigs in male groups but improved pig welfare in mixed groups.
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