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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 409625
Title Coping personality type and environment enrichment affect aggression at weaning in pigs
Author(s) Melotti, L.; Oostindjer, M.; Bolhuis, J.E.; Held, S.; Mendl, M.
Source Applied Animal Behaviour Science 133 (2011)3-4. - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 144 - 153.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2011.05.018
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) individual behavioral-characteristics - growing pigs - social stress - physiological-responses - rearing conditions - domesticated pigs - unacquainted pigs - housing condition - young-pigs - piglets
Abstract This study investigated the effects of different environmental treatments and personality types on aggression at mixing of newly weaned domestic piglets. From birth to weaning, 16 litters were housed with their dams in either barren (B) or larger, substrate-enriched (E) environments. At 15 days old, piglets were classified as ‘high’ (HR) or ‘low resistant’ (LR) in a manual restraint test (backtest), which is thought to identify proactive (HR) and reactive (LR) stress coping strategies that may reflect different personality types. At 30 days old, 128 piglets were weaned, relocated and mixed into 32 pens comprising two HR and two LR unfamiliar pigs, balanced for sex and weaning weight. Eight B and eight E groups changed environmental condition whereas the others remained in the same type of environment. Number and duration of fights, fight outcomes and unilateral fighting were scored for 5 h post-mixing and skin lesions were counted before and 5 h, 1 day and 2 days after mixing. On the day following weaning, fighting and also exploratory and oral manipulative behaviours were measured for 6 h. Generalized Linear Mixed Model analyses suggested interactions between pre-weaning environment, post-weaning environment and personality type. Overall, pre-weaning E pigs had longer fights at weaning and mixing (P = 0.01) and fought for longer on the next day (P = 0.02) than pre-weaning B pigs, and inflicted more skin lesions (P = 0.02). Post-weaning enrichment did not affect fighting at mixing but reduced the time spent fighting the next day (P = 0.03). Personality had subtle and environment-dependent effects on fighting, and influenced the “structure” rather than the amount of aggressive behaviour. HR pigs, for instance, bullied (i.e. chased surrendering pigs) more often (P = 0.009) and their fighting behaviour was less affected by their relative body weight than that of LR pigs. Post-weaning E pigs showed relatively higher levels of exploratory behaviour (P = 0.02) and less oral manipulative behaviour (P = 0.04) than post-weaning B pigs. In particular, switching from a good quality environment (E) to a worse quality one (B) at weaning decreased exploratory behaviour on the next day, especially for LR pigs, who also tended to fight with and orally manipulate their pen mates more in that condition, and seemed to be more affected by a deterioration of the environment. Overall, pre-weaning enrichment increased aggression after weaning whereas post-weaning enrichment reduced it, and personality type related to some aspects of fighting behaviour
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