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pigs faceMore than just a 'Hayday'


Year: 2021

Alice Armstrong
University of Leeds, UK

Supervisor(s): Professor Lisa Collins


Supplementary environmental enrichment (EE) has been linked to limiting aggression and depressive sow behaviors. This four-week study explored changing behaviors and lesion scores in two separated groups of sows at the University of Leeds National Pig Centre. The control was provided with standard enrichment. The treatment was exposed to straw and the additional EE ‘EasyFixAstro 200’ toys. Ethograms were used when recording behavioral data sourced from video recordings. Lesion scores were collected for pigs from each section. Firstly, a Poisson regression analysis was conducted within SPSS. Response variables were the ethogram behavioral markers, the predictors were sow group, and day. Motion and environmental nosing were both significantly lower in the control group (p=0.00, p<0.01). Lying was significantly higher in the control group (p=0.00, p<0.01). Hence, sows exposed to additional enrichment were more active than the sows exposed to the standard enrichment. An ordinal probit generalized linear model was applied in SPSS for the lesion score data. The response variable was lesion score, and the predictors were the day, sow ID and sow group. The lesion scores were significantly higher in the control group (p=0.02, p<0.05). Therefore, sows exposed to the additional enrichment had significantly lower physical markers of aggression. Thus, additional enrichment is an invaluable instrument in lessening negative byproducts of housing sows.