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Short Communication : effect of positive handling of sows on litter performance and pre-weaning piglet mortality

(2020) ANIMAL. 14(8). p.1733-1739
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Abstract
Fear and environmental stressors may negatively affect the welfare of farm animals such as pigs. The present study investigated the effects of music and positive handling on reproductive performance of sows (n= 1014; parity 1 to 8) from a commercial pig farm practicing a batch farrowing system. Every 2 weeks, 56 sows were moved from the gestation unit to conventional-crated farrowing houses 1 week prior to expected farrowing. Treated (T;n= 299) and control (C;n= 715) sows were included in the study. In the farrowing houses, auditory enrichment (music from a radio) was provided to sows of T groups daily from 0600 to 1800 h until the end of lactation. Until the day of farrowing, T sows were additionally subjected, for 15 s per day per sow, to continuous back scratching by one member of farm staff. Litter performance and piglet mortality were recorded and analysed between T and C sows using linear mixed regression models. The number of liveborn piglets (C 13.85v. T 13.26) and liveborn corrected for fostering (C 13.85v. T 13.43) was significantly higher (P< 0.05) in C groups compared to the T groups. The number of stillborn piglets was 0.60 and 0.72 in T and C groups, respectively (P> 0.05). With regard to piglet mortality, a linear mixed regression model showed a significant overall effect of treatment in reducing piglet mortality (P< 0.01). Yet, the effect of treatment varied according to litter size (number of liveborn piglets) with a diminishing treatment effect in sows with a high litter size (P< 0.01). Pre-weaning survival was improved in the current study by the combined effect of daily back scratching of sows prior to farrowing and providing music to sows and piglets during lactation. Further research is needed to assess the separate effects of both interventions.
Keywords
back scratching, music, pre-weaning piglet survival, sow welfare, environmental enrichment, BEHAVIOR, HUMANS, MUSIC, ENRICHMENT, SURVIVAL, STRESS, PIGS, REPRODUCTION, PARTURITION, GROWTH

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MLA
De Meyer, D., et al. “Short Communication : Effect of Positive Handling of Sows on Litter Performance and Pre-Weaning Piglet Mortality.” ANIMAL, vol. 14, no. 8, 2020, pp. 1733–39, doi:10.1017/S1751731120000427.
APA
De Meyer, D., Amalraj, A., Van Limbergen, T., Fockedey, M., Edwards, S., Moustsen, V. A., … Maes, D. (2020). Short Communication : effect of positive handling of sows on litter performance and pre-weaning piglet mortality. ANIMAL, 14(8), 1733–1739. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731120000427
Chicago author-date
De Meyer, D., Arthi Amalraj, Tommy Van Limbergen, M. Fockedey, S. Edwards, V. A. Moustsen, Ilias Chantziaras, and Dominiek Maes. 2020. “Short Communication : Effect of Positive Handling of Sows on Litter Performance and Pre-Weaning Piglet Mortality.” ANIMAL 14 (8): 1733–39. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1751731120000427.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Meyer, D., Arthi Amalraj, Tommy Van Limbergen, M. Fockedey, S. Edwards, V. A. Moustsen, Ilias Chantziaras, and Dominiek Maes. 2020. “Short Communication : Effect of Positive Handling of Sows on Litter Performance and Pre-Weaning Piglet Mortality.” ANIMAL 14 (8): 1733–1739. doi:10.1017/S1751731120000427.
Vancouver
1.
De Meyer D, Amalraj A, Van Limbergen T, Fockedey M, Edwards S, Moustsen VA, et al. Short Communication : effect of positive handling of sows on litter performance and pre-weaning piglet mortality. ANIMAL. 2020;14(8):1733–9.
IEEE
[1]
D. De Meyer et al., “Short Communication : effect of positive handling of sows on litter performance and pre-weaning piglet mortality,” ANIMAL, vol. 14, no. 8, pp. 1733–1739, 2020.
@article{8680250,
  abstract     = {{Fear and environmental stressors may negatively affect the welfare of farm animals such as pigs. The present study investigated the effects of music and positive handling on reproductive performance of sows (n= 1014; parity 1 to 8) from a commercial pig farm practicing a batch farrowing system. Every 2 weeks, 56 sows were moved from the gestation unit to conventional-crated farrowing houses 1 week prior to expected farrowing. Treated (T;n= 299) and control (C;n= 715) sows were included in the study. In the farrowing houses, auditory enrichment (music from a radio) was provided to sows of T groups daily from 0600 to 1800 h until the end of lactation. Until the day of farrowing, T sows were additionally subjected, for 15 s per day per sow, to continuous back scratching by one member of farm staff. Litter performance and piglet mortality were recorded and analysed between T and C sows using linear mixed regression models. The number of liveborn piglets (C 13.85v. T 13.26) and liveborn corrected for fostering (C 13.85v. T 13.43) was significantly higher (P< 0.05) in C groups compared to the T groups. The number of stillborn piglets was 0.60 and 0.72 in T and C groups, respectively (P> 0.05). With regard to piglet mortality, a linear mixed regression model showed a significant overall effect of treatment in reducing piglet mortality (P< 0.01). Yet, the effect of treatment varied according to litter size (number of liveborn piglets) with a diminishing treatment effect in sows with a high litter size (P< 0.01). Pre-weaning survival was improved in the current study by the combined effect of daily back scratching of sows prior to farrowing and providing music to sows and piglets during lactation. Further research is needed to assess the separate effects of both interventions.}},
  author       = {{De Meyer, D. and Amalraj, Arthi and Van Limbergen, Tommy and Fockedey, M. and Edwards, S. and Moustsen, V. A. and Chantziaras, Ilias and Maes, Dominiek}},
  issn         = {{1751-7311}},
  journal      = {{ANIMAL}},
  keywords     = {{back scratching,music,pre-weaning piglet survival,sow welfare,environmental enrichment,BEHAVIOR,HUMANS,MUSIC,ENRICHMENT,SURVIVAL,STRESS,PIGS,REPRODUCTION,PARTURITION,GROWTH}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{8}},
  pages        = {{1733--1739}},
  title        = {{Short Communication : effect of positive handling of sows on litter performance and pre-weaning piglet mortality}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731120000427}},
  volume       = {{14}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}

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