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J Anim Sci. 1995 Dec;73(12):3705-11.

The effect of breeding facility and sexual stimulation on plasma cortisol in boars.

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Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Department of Food and Agriculture, Werribee, Australia.


Nine boars were used to evaluate effects of breeding facility design and sexual activity on plasma cortisol concentrations . In one breeding facility (conventional), boars were housed individually in small pens, and female pigs were mated in those boar pens. In another breeding facility (Detection-Mating Area [DMA] system), boars were housed individually in stalls, and female pigs were mated in a specific mating pen adjacent to the front of stalls where boars were housed. After 51 d of housing treatment, a catheter was surgically implanted in the cephalic vein for collection of blood samples. Daytime profiles (hourly collections from 0900 to 1700) of cortisol did not differ among boars in the two treatment groups. Cortisol was greater (P < .01) in the morning than in the afternoon. Administration of ACTH increased (P < .001) plasma cortisol in boars, but breeding facility did not affect the ACTH-induced changes in cortisol concentrations. There was a treatment x time interaction (P < .02) for cortisol after sexual stimulation, and the magnitude and duration of increase in cortisol were greater (P < .05) in the DMA treatment group. Cortisol was greater (P < .001) after than before mating for both treatment groups. An acute increase in plasma cortisol concentration in boars seems to be a normal biological response to sexual activity. However, magnitude and duration of the increase in cortisol may be influenced by breeding facility design and mating procedure. There is no evidence, based on physiological data, that housing boars in stalls in the DMA system has any adverse effects on their welfare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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