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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Epub ahead of print
[Epub ahead of print] Published online June 26, 2017.
Effects of environmental enrichment on behaviour, physiology and performance of pigs — A review
Mbusiseni Vusumuzi Mkwanazi1  , Cypril Ndumiso Ncobela1  , Arnold Tapera Kanengoni2,3  , Michael Chimonyo1,* 
1Animal and Poultry Science, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 3209, South Africa
2Veterinary Services and Research Department, Joburg Zoo, Private Bag X 13, Parkview 2122, South Africa
3College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Florida Campus, Florida 1709, South Africa
Correspondence:  Michael Chimonyo, Tel: +27-33-260-5477, Fax: +27-332605067, Email: chimonyo@ukzn.ac.za
Received: 21 February 2017   • Revised: 18 April 2017   • Accepted: 17 May 2017
This paper aims to critically analyse and synthesise existing knowledge concerning the use of environmental enrichment and its effect on behavior, physiology and performance of pigs housed in intensive production systems. The objective is also to provide clarity as to what constitutes successful enrichment and recommend when and how enrichment should be used. Environmental enrichment is usually understood as an attempt to improve animal welfare and to a lesser extent, performance. Common enrichment objects used are straw bedding, suspended ropes and wood shavings, toys, rubber tubings, colored plastic keys, table tennis balls, chains and strings. These substrates need to be chewable, deformable, destructible and ingestible. For enrichment to be successful four goals are essential. Firstly, enrichment should increase the number and range of normal behaviors; secondly, it should prevent the phenomenon of anomalous behaviors or reduce their frequency; thirdly, it should increase positive use of the environment such as space and fourthly it should increase the ability of the animals to deal with behavioral and physiological challenges. The performance, behavior and physiology of pigs in enriched environments is similar or in some cases slightly better when compared with barren environments. In studies where there was no improvement, it should be borne in mind that enriching the environment may not always be practical and yield positive results due to factors such as type of enrichment substrates, duration of provision and type of enrichment used. The review also identifies possible areas that still need further research, especially in understanding the role of enrichment, novelty, breed differences and other enrichment alternatives.
Keywords: Exploration; Instinctive Behaviours; Intensive Production Systems; Novelty; Pig Welfare

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