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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Volume 30(6); 2017 > Article
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2017;30(6): 902-906. doi: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.16.0653
Behaviors and body weight of suckling piglets in different social environments
Joon-Ki Hong1, Ki-Hyun Kim1, Hyun-Su Hwang2, Jae-Kang Lee2, Tae-Kyung Eom2, Shin-Jae Rhim2,*
1Swine Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science, Cheonan 31000, Korea
2School of Bioresourceand Bioscience, Chung-Ang University, Ansung 17546, Korea
* Corresponding Author: Shin-Jae Rhim ,Tel: +82-31-670-4842, Fax: +82-31-676-4842, Email: sjrhim@cau.ac.kr
Received: August 31, 2016;  Revised: October 28, 2016.  Accepted: November 18, 2016.  Published online November 21, 2016.

This study was conducted to characterize the behaviors and the body weight of suckling piglets in different social environments.
Two groups of sows and suckling piglets housed either in individual farrowing crates in separate pens (1.8×2.4 m, the control group) or in groups of three sows with their piglets in farrowing crates in a large common enclosure (5.4×2.2 m, the treatment group) were observed with the aid of video technology for 9 consecutive hours on days 1, 2, and 3, after mixing.
Suckling, agonistic, and elimination behaviors of suckling piglets were significantly higher in the control group than in the treatment group. Inactive behavior was higher in the treatment group than in the control group. Most of the effects of the social environment on the suckling piglets seem to be the result of large reductions in behaviors and body weight for piglets switching from high activity to low activity. Moreover, suckling behavior and birth body weight were highly correlated with body weight at the end of the test.
The social environment that resulted from mixing, thus, had significant effects on the behavior and body weight of suckling piglets, and behavioral characteristics, therefore, should be considered when making improvements to the husbandry and care methods used in swine production.
Keywords: Farrowing Crate; Mixing Suckling Piglets; Swine; Video Technology in Animal Welfare
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