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Aggression and cortisol levels in three different group housing routines for lactating sows.

Thomsson O, Bergqvist AS, Sjunnesson Y, Eliasson-Selling L, Lundeheim N, Magnusson U - Acta Vet. Scand. (2015)

Bottom Line: This can disrupt the inhibitory effect of suckling on ovarian activity and increase the risk of lactational oestrus, making efficient reproductive management difficult.The cortisol response, measured as variation in cortisol concentration in saliva, was also lower (P < 0.05) in group-housed W3 sows compared with W1 sows.Overall, the results suggest that mixing and group housing sows at three weeks post farrowing is less stressful than mixing and group housing sows at one week post farrowing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Reproduction, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, Box 7054, SE-750 07, Uppsala, Sweden. ola.thomsson@slu.se.

ABSTRACT

Background: Lactating sows in Swedish organic piglet production are commonly group-housed with piglets in a multi-suckling pen within 14 days after farrowing. Nursing behaviour may be disturbed when lactating sows are moved to a new environment and mixed with other sows, as they spend more time fighting with other sows and exploring the new surroundings. This can disrupt the inhibitory effect of suckling on ovarian activity and increase the risk of lactational oestrus, making efficient reproductive management difficult. Therefore this study evaluated aggression and levels of the stress hormone cortisol in lactating sows group-housed together with their piglets at one (W1), two (W2) or three (W3) weeks post farrowing.

Results: There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the three management routines (W1, W2, W3) regarding number of attacks initiated or received in the mixed group. After mixing, W2 sows had a lower number of shoulder scratches (P < 0.05) than W3 sows. Among the W3 sows, there was a lower (P < 0.01) cortisol concentration in saliva when sows were group housed compared to when they were individually housed. The cortisol response, measured as variation in cortisol concentration in saliva, was also lower (P < 0.05) in group-housed W3 sows compared with W1 sows. For all management routines, sows already living in the new environment (resident sows) initiated more attacks (P < 0.001) and received fewer attacks (P < 0.01) than sows entering the new environment (intruder sows). Overall, multiparous sows initiated more attacks and received fewer attacks than primiparous sows (P <0.001).

Conclusions: Overall, the results suggest that mixing and group housing sows at three weeks post farrowing is less stressful than mixing and group housing sows at one week post farrowing. The results also indicate that parity and whether a sow is a resident or intruder in the group housing environment may have an effect on aggression levels when sows are group-housed.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Median number of (a) attacks initiated and (b) attacks received by resident sows (n = 26) and intruder sows (n = 11), recorded during 2 h for four consecutive days. Resident sows were moved first to the multi-suckling pen and intruder sows were moved on the following day or three days later. The range of number of attacks within groups of sows is reported above each bar. The two groups differed significantly in terms of both parameters (a: P < 0.001; b: P < 0.01).
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Fig4: Median number of (a) attacks initiated and (b) attacks received by resident sows (n = 26) and intruder sows (n = 11), recorded during 2 h for four consecutive days. Resident sows were moved first to the multi-suckling pen and intruder sows were moved on the following day or three days later. The range of number of attacks within groups of sows is reported above each bar. The two groups differed significantly in terms of both parameters (a: P < 0.001; b: P < 0.01).

Mentions: There was no difference between the three management routines regarding the number of attacks initiated or received per sow (Figure 3a, b). For all management routines, resident sows initiated more attacks (P < 0.001) and received fewer attacks (P < 0.01) than intruder sows (Figure 4a, b). Overall, multiparous sows initiated more attacks and received fewer attacks than primiparous sows (P < 0.001) (Figure 5).Figure 3


Aggression and cortisol levels in three different group housing routines for lactating sows.

Thomsson O, Bergqvist AS, Sjunnesson Y, Eliasson-Selling L, Lundeheim N, Magnusson U - Acta Vet. Scand. (2015)

Median number of (a) attacks initiated and (b) attacks received by resident sows (n = 26) and intruder sows (n = 11), recorded during 2 h for four consecutive days. Resident sows were moved first to the multi-suckling pen and intruder sows were moved on the following day or three days later. The range of number of attacks within groups of sows is reported above each bar. The two groups differed significantly in terms of both parameters (a: P < 0.001; b: P < 0.01).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4340676&req=5

Fig4: Median number of (a) attacks initiated and (b) attacks received by resident sows (n = 26) and intruder sows (n = 11), recorded during 2 h for four consecutive days. Resident sows were moved first to the multi-suckling pen and intruder sows were moved on the following day or three days later. The range of number of attacks within groups of sows is reported above each bar. The two groups differed significantly in terms of both parameters (a: P < 0.001; b: P < 0.01).
Mentions: There was no difference between the three management routines regarding the number of attacks initiated or received per sow (Figure 3a, b). For all management routines, resident sows initiated more attacks (P < 0.001) and received fewer attacks (P < 0.01) than intruder sows (Figure 4a, b). Overall, multiparous sows initiated more attacks and received fewer attacks than primiparous sows (P < 0.001) (Figure 5).Figure 3

Bottom Line: This can disrupt the inhibitory effect of suckling on ovarian activity and increase the risk of lactational oestrus, making efficient reproductive management difficult.The cortisol response, measured as variation in cortisol concentration in saliva, was also lower (P < 0.05) in group-housed W3 sows compared with W1 sows.Overall, the results suggest that mixing and group housing sows at three weeks post farrowing is less stressful than mixing and group housing sows at one week post farrowing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Division of Reproduction, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, Box 7054, SE-750 07, Uppsala, Sweden. ola.thomsson@slu.se.

ABSTRACT

Background: Lactating sows in Swedish organic piglet production are commonly group-housed with piglets in a multi-suckling pen within 14 days after farrowing. Nursing behaviour may be disturbed when lactating sows are moved to a new environment and mixed with other sows, as they spend more time fighting with other sows and exploring the new surroundings. This can disrupt the inhibitory effect of suckling on ovarian activity and increase the risk of lactational oestrus, making efficient reproductive management difficult. Therefore this study evaluated aggression and levels of the stress hormone cortisol in lactating sows group-housed together with their piglets at one (W1), two (W2) or three (W3) weeks post farrowing.

Results: There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the three management routines (W1, W2, W3) regarding number of attacks initiated or received in the mixed group. After mixing, W2 sows had a lower number of shoulder scratches (P < 0.05) than W3 sows. Among the W3 sows, there was a lower (P < 0.01) cortisol concentration in saliva when sows were group housed compared to when they were individually housed. The cortisol response, measured as variation in cortisol concentration in saliva, was also lower (P < 0.05) in group-housed W3 sows compared with W1 sows. For all management routines, sows already living in the new environment (resident sows) initiated more attacks (P < 0.001) and received fewer attacks (P < 0.01) than sows entering the new environment (intruder sows). Overall, multiparous sows initiated more attacks and received fewer attacks than primiparous sows (P <0.001).

Conclusions: Overall, the results suggest that mixing and group housing sows at three weeks post farrowing is less stressful than mixing and group housing sows at one week post farrowing. The results also indicate that parity and whether a sow is a resident or intruder in the group housing environment may have an effect on aggression levels when sows are group-housed.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus