Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Animal. 2013 Feb;7(2):309-15. doi: 10.1017/S1751731112001541. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Comparison of growth performance and agonistic interaction in weaned piglets of different weight classes from farrowing systems with group or single housing.

Author information

Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Christian-Albrechts-University, Olshausenstraße 40, D-24098 Kiel, Germany.


The present study was designed to analyze the growth performance, behavioral patterns and intensity of injuries of weaned pigs (26 days) during a rearing period of 6 weeks. The farrowing system (group housing (GH) v. single housing (SH)) and the post-weaning regrouping weight class (light, medium, heavy) were considered as the main factors. A number of 120 GH-pigs and 120 SH-pigs were kept in three batches (20 pens, 12 pigs each). The GH- and SH-pigs were divided by weight into three groups: light (5 to ⩽7 kg), medium (>7 to ⩽9 kg) and heavy (>9 to ⩽12 kg), with two pigs of six different litters in each pen. The pigs were weighed individually at weaning (week 1) and during rearing (weeks 2, 3 and 7). The feed conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated between weeks 1 and 7. The duration and number of fights (NF) per pen and hour were determined by continuous sampling (40 h after weaning). Lesions of the integument were scored into four classes (none, minor, medium, severe) and recorded at weaning and 48 h afterwards. The farrowing system had no effect on the weights in week 1 (GH: 7.8 kg v. SH: 7.7 kg; week as linear, quadratic regression nested within housing systems) or in week 7 (GH: 29.4 kg v. SH: 28.6 kg). The body weights were influenced significantly by the weaning weight class (light: 11.7 kg (s.e.m.: 0.30), medium: 14.8 kg (s.e.m.: 0.22), heavy: 17.3 kg (s.e.m.: 0.26)). The FCR of the GH-pigs was 1.64 (s.e.m.: 0.03) and 1.58 (s.e.m.: 0.03) for SH-pigs. A reduced agonistic behavior of the GH-pigs was observed with 2.1 fights per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 0.07) v. the SH-pigs with 4.6 fights per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 0.05). The fight duration of the GH-pigs with 10.3 s per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 1.07) was significantly lower in comparison to the SH-pigs with 18.8 s per pen and hour (s.e.m.: 1.06). The SH-pigs had more new skin lesions at the shoulders than the GH-pigs 48 h after weaning (P < 0.05). In conclusion, early mixing of unacquainted litters during lactation had no influence on their growth performance during rearing but reduced agonistic behavior and lesion score difference during the first 2 days after weaning. No significant interaction between the farrowing system and weaning weight class was detected with regard to growth performance and NF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Cambridge University Press
    Loading ...
    Support Center