Journal article

The short-term behavioural response of sows, but not gilts, to a social stimulus is related to sow aggressiveness in groups

M Verdon, RS Morrison, M Rice, KL Butler, PH Hemsworth



This study examined relationships between the behavioural response of pregnant gilts (n=200, gestation 1) and sows (n=200, gestation 2) to a live, similarly-aged female pig (unfamiliar pig test, UPT) and to a fibre-glass model pig (model pig test, MPT), and aggressive behaviour on the day after mixing (day 2). Sows with a short latency to make contact with an unfamiliar sow in the UPT were more likely to deliver high levels of aggression at day 2 of gestation 2 (P=0.005), but this relationship was stronger when a model pig was used (P0.05). A strong relationship was not apparent with gilts (P>0.05). Thus, the socially inexperienced pig may not be an ideal model for sow behaviour. This study ..

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Awarded by Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC)

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was partially funded by Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC; grant 1C-102). M. Verdon was supported by postgraduate scholarship from Australian Pork Limited and the Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre. We are particularly grateful to Rivalea Australia for their technical support and use of their facilities and animals.