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Animals (Basel). 2019 Mar 19;9(3). pii: E101. doi: 10.3390/ani9030101.

Effect of Different Environment Enrichments on Behaviour and Social Interactions in Growing Pigs.

Author information

1
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge, 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy. novella.benvenuti@unipi.it.
2
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge, 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy. a.giannarelli@studenti.unipi.it.
3
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge, 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy. chiara.mariti@unipi.it.
4
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge, 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy. angelo.gazzano@unipi.it.

Abstract

(1) Background: Pigs are active animals that require a suitable environment to be able to express their exploratory behaviour. The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of different environmental enrichments on the behaviour, social interactions, salivary cortisol concentration and body weight of pigs during the growing phase. (2) Methods: The investigation involved 75 pigs divided into three groups. The environmental enrichments were arranged as follows: Hanging metal chains for the control group; hanging metal chains and hanging logs for the second group; hanging metal chains and logs laying on the floor for the third group. Each group was video recorded twice a week for six weeks. The scan sampling technique was used. Salivary cortisol and live body weight were also recorded regularly. Parametric (ANOVA) and non-parametric statistics were used to analyse the data. (3) Results: Hanging logs were found to be more effective than logs laying on the floor at reducing aggression within the group tested, resulting in a more comfortable environment. Salivary cortisol concentration and growth did not show significant differences between the three groups. (4) Conclusions: The use of hanging logs affected some interactive patterns that resulted in decreasing the aggressive episodes of pigs, thereby providing a more comfortable environment.

KEYWORDS:

behaviour; environmental enrichment; pig; social interactions

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