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Animals (Basel). 2019 Apr 5;9(4). pii: E148. doi: 10.3390/ani9040148.

The Use of Garlic Oil for Olfactory Enrichment Increases the Use of Ropes in Weaned Pigs.

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Pathobiology and Production Sciences, Animal Welfare Science and Ethics, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield AL9 7TA, Hertfordshire, UK.
Centre for Equine and Animal Science, Writtle University College, Chelmsford CM1 3RR, Essex, UK.


Pig producers are required to provide environmental enrichment to provide pigs the opportunity to perform investigative and manipulative behaviours (EU directive 2001/93/EC). Preventing enrichment from losing its novelty and decreasing the rate at which animals become habituated is important to maintain use of enrichment over time. A comparative study was formulated to identify whether weaner pigs housed in a semi-barren environment displayed a preference for olfactory enrichment compared to non-scented enrichment. Pigs (n = 146) were selected at 28 days old from two different batches (n = 76 and n = 70) and divided into pens. All pigs were given a control and a treatment (garlic scented) rope. Behavioural observations and rope interactions were assessed through direct observation. Throughout the entire study, the length of interaction with the garlic device was significantly higher (p < 0.02), indicating that there was a preference for olfactory enrichment compared to an odourless device. There was no significant occurrence of tail, ear, or flank biting in both batches. Weaner pigs showed a preference towards olfactory enrichment. Although habituation began to occur, this effect was mitigated by re-spraying the ropes, which resulted in increased interactions.


Pig; enrichment; garlic oil; olfactory; post-weaning; tail biting; welfare

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