Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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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 333872
Title Individual coping characteristics, rearing conditions and behavioural flexibility in pigs
Author(s) Bolhuis, J.E.; Schouten, W.G.P.; Leeuw, J.A. de; Schrama, J.W.; Wiegant, V.M.
Source Behavioural Brain Research 152 (2004). - ISSN 0166-4328 - p. 351 - 360.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2003.10.024
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
Chair Ethology
Animal Nutrition
Aquaculture and Fisheries
Human and Animal Physiology
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2004
Keyword(s) male great tits - environmental enrichment - basal ganglia - growing-pigs - physiological-responses - memory-systems - breeding gilts - apomorphine - rat - exploration
Abstract Several studies suggest that classification of piglets early in life based on the degree of resistance they display in a so-called Backtest may be indicative of their coping style at a later age. In the present study behavioural flexibility was investigated in pigs diverging for Backtest response and housing environment during rearing. Pigs were housed either without a rooting substrate (barren housing, 13) or in identical pens enriched with deep straw bedding (enriched housing, E) from birth. During the suckling period piglets were subjected to the Backtest. Each piglet was restrained on its back for I min and the resistance (i.e. number of escape attempts) was scored. Pigs classified as 'high-resisting' (HR) or as 'low-resisting' (LR) were subjected to a simple (left/right) spatial discrimination (T-maze) task at 8 weeks of age. The effect of a single, subtle intramaze change was determined after acquisition of the task. In addition, pigs were subjected to reversal learning to assess their ability to modulate established behaviour patterns. Housing and its interaction with Backtest classification influenced the behavioural response to the intramaze change: E pigs were considerably more distracted than B pigs. Housing condition affected LR pigs more than HR pigs, as indicated by the interaction effects on various recorded behaviours. These interactions indicate that behavioural responding of pigs with diverging coping characteristics cannot simply be generalised across rearing conditions. Furthermore, FIR pigs were less successful in reversal learning than LR pigs, suggesting that they have a higher propensity to develop inflexible behavioural routines. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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