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Using the Piglet Scream Test to enhance piglet survival on farms: data from outdoor sows

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Abstract:

The point of the Piglet Scream Test is to identify those sows that increase the survival of their piglets through good maternal behaviour. For this to work, sows must be shown to differ in their test responsiveness, for differences to be consistent across parities and for responsiveness to be associated with piglet survival. Our data provide some first evidence that outdoor sows, kept under commercial production conditions, differ consistently from each other in their test responsiveness across parities. However, there was no evidence that this was associated with the survival of their litters. This, together with the lack of consistent evidence from other studies for a relationship between Piglet Scream Test responsiveness and piglet survival and concerns about its possible causes, cautions against the use of the test to enhance piglet survival on farms without further study. The paper highlights lack of standardisation of the test and pseudoreplication as concerns.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; MATERNAL BEHAVIOUR; OUTDOOR SOWS; PIGLET MORTALITY; PIGLET SCREAM TEST; PLAYBACK TEST

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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