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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.

Author information

1
Pathobiology and Production Sciences, Animal Welfare Science and Ethics, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield AL9 7TA, Hertfordshire, UK. nblackie@rvc.ac.uk.
2
Centre for Equine and Animal Science, Writtle University College, Chelmsford CM1 3RR, Essex, UK. megandesousa@live.co.uk.

Abstract

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.

KEYWORDS:

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

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