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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    Birth weight affects body protein retention but not nitrogen efficiency in the later life of pigs
    Peet-Schwering, Carola M.C. van der; Verschuren, Lisanne M.G. ; Hedemann, Mette S. ; Binnendijk, Gisabeth P. ; Jansman, Alfons J.M. - \ 2020
    Journal of Animal Science 98 (2020)6. - ISSN 0021-8812
    birth weight - growing pigs - nitrogen efficiency - nitrogen retention - nontargeted metabolomics

    Exploring factors that might affect nitrogen (N) efficiency in pigs could support the development of precision feeding concepts. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to determine the effects of birth weight (BiW) on N retention, N efficiency, and concentrations of metabolites in plasma and urine related to N efficiency in male pigs of 14 wk of age. BiW of the low BiW (LBW) and high BiW (HBW) pigs was 1.11 ± 0.14 and 1.79 ± 0.12 kg, respectively. Twenty LBW and 20 HBW pigs were individually housed in metabolism cages and were subjected to an N balance study in two sequential periods of 5 d, after an 11-d adaptation period. Pigs were assigned to a protein adequate (A) or protein restricted (R, 70% of A) regime in a change-over design and fed restrictedly 2.8 times the energy requirements for maintenance. Nontargeted metabolomics analyses were performed in urine and blood plasma samples. The N retention in g/d was higher in the HBW than in the LBW pigs (P < 0.001). The N retention in g/(kg BW0.75·d) and N efficiency (= 100% × N retention / N intake), however, were not affected by BiW of the pigs. Moreover, fecal digestibility of N and urinary concentration of N and urea were not affected by BiW of the pigs. The concentration of insulin (P = 0.08) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1;P = 0.05) in blood plasma was higher in HBW pigs, whereas the concentration of α-amino N tended to be lower in HBW pigs (P = 0.06). The LBW and HBW pigs could not be discriminated based on the plasma and urinary metabolites retrieved by nontargeted metabolomics. Restricting dietary protein supply decreased N retention (P < 0.001), N efficiency (P = 0.07), fecal N digestibility (P < 0.001), urinary concentration of N and urea (P < 0.001), and concentration of urea (P < 0.001), IGF-1 (P < 0.001), and α-amino N (P < 0.001) in blood plasma. The plasma and urinary metabolites differing between dietary protein regime were mostly amino acids (AA) or their derivatives, metabolites of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and glucuronidated compounds, almost all being higher in the pigs fed the A regime. This study shows that BiW affects absolute N retention but does not affect N efficiency in growing pigs. Therefore, in precision feeding concepts, BiW of pigs should be considered as a factor determining protein deposition capacity but less as a trait determining N efficiency.

    Whole digesta properties as influenced by feed processing explain variation in gastrointestinal transit times in pigs
    Martens, Bianca M.J. ; Noorloos, Marit ; Vries, Sonja De ; Schols, Henk A. ; Bruininx, Erik M.A.M. ; Gerrits, Walter J.J. - \ 2019
    The British journal of nutrition 122 (2019)11. - ISSN 0007-1145 - p. 1242 - 1254.
    digesta passage behaviour - extrusion - Gastric emptying - growing pigs - starch

    Physicochemical properties of diets are believed to play a major role in the regulation of digesta transit in the gastro-intestinal tract. Starch, being the dominant nutrient in pig diets, strongly influences these properties. We studied transport of digesta solids and liquids trough the upper gastro-intestinal tract of 90 pigs in a 3x3 factorial arrangement. Dietary treatments varied in starch source (barley, maize, high-amylose maize) and form (isolated starch, ground cereal, extruded cereal). Mean retention times (MRT) of digesta solids ranged 129-225 min for the stomach and 86-124 min for the small intestine (SI). The MRT of solids consistently exceeded that of liquids in the stomach, but not in the SI. Solid digesta of pigs fed extruded cereals remained 29-75 min shorter in the stomach compared with pigs fed ground cereals (P<0.001). Shear stress of whole digesta positively correlated with solid digesta MRT in the stomach (r=0.33, P<0.001), but not in the SI. The saturation ratio (SR), the actual amount of water in stomach digesta as a fraction of the theoretical maximum held by the digesta matrix, explained more variation in digesta MRT than shear stress. The predictability of SR was hampered by the accumulation of large particles in the stomach. In addition, the water holding capacity of gelatinised starch lead to a decreased SR of diets, but not of stomach digesta, which was caused by gastric hydrolysis of starch. Both of these phenomena hinder the predictability of gastric retention times based on feed properties.

    Pelleting and extrusion can ameliorate negative effects of toasting of rapeseed meal on protein digestibility in growing pigs
    Salazar-Villanea, S. ; Bruininx, E.M.A.M. ; Gruppen, H. ; Hendriks, W.H. ; Carré, P. ; Quinsac, A. ; Poel, A.F.B. van der - \ 2018
    Animal 12 (2018)5. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 950 - 958.
    digestibility - extrusion - growing pigs - pelleting - rapeseed meal
    Toasting time (TT) of rapeseed meal (RSM), the diet processing (DP) method and the interaction between both on the apparent CP digestion along the gastrointestinal tract and the apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of amino acids of growing pigs were investigated. The experiment consisted of a 3×3 factorial design of TT of RSM (0, 60 and 120 min) and DP method (mash, pelleting and extrusion). In total, 81 boars with a starting BW of 20 kg were euthanized 4 h after their last feeding. The gastrointestinal tract was dissected and the small intestine divided in three sections of similar length. Samples were collected from the stomach, 1.5 m from the ends of each of the three sections of the small intestine, and the rectum. The apparent digestibility (AD) of CP for each of the small intestine sections was used to calculate the rate of CP digestion. Increasing the TT of RSM resulted in lower protein solubility, lower lysine/reactive lysine contents and higher protein denaturation, indicative of the occurrence of protein aggregation and Maillard reactions. There were significant effects (P⩽0.01) of TT on the AD of CP in the different sections of the gastrointestinal tract. The rate of CP digestion of the 0 min toasted RSM diets was 23% and 35% higher than that of the 60 and 120 min toasted RSM diets, respectively. There was a significant interaction (P=0.04) between TT and DP for the AID of CP. Although pelleting of the 0 and 60 min toasted RSM diets did not change the AID of CP with respect to the mash diets, pelleting of the 120 min toasted RSM diet increased the AID of CP by 9.3% units. Extrusion increased the AID of CP of the 0 and 60 min toasted RSM diets by 3.4% and 4.3% units with respect to the mash diets, whereas extrusion of the 120 min toasted RSM diet increased the AID of CP by 6.9% units. Similar positive effects of pelleting and extrusion were obtained for the AID of lysine and reactive lysine, especially in the diets with higher TT. In conclusion, processing (pelleting and extrusion) of RSM containing diets can ameliorate the negative effects of RSM toasting on protein and amino acid digestibility; these effects were larger for the RSM toasted for longer times.
    Effects of β-Glucans and resistant starch on fermentation of recalcitrant fibers in growing pigs
    Vries, S. de; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Kabel, M.A. ; Zijlstra, Ruurd ; Vasanthan, Thava - \ 2017
    Wageningen University
    animal nutrition - carbohydrate structures - digestibility measurements - fermentable fibers - food chemistry - growing pigs - in vivo digestion - nutritional modelling - rapeseed meal
    Effects of the presence of β-glucans and resistant starch in diets on nutrient and fiber degradability of rapeseed meal [RSM] (Brassica napus) and Distillers Dried Grain with Solubles (DDGS) were tested in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement. Two basal diets, containing either 500 g/kg RSM or DDGS and ~400 g/kg corn starch were formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements of growing pigs. Corn starch was partly replaced with the β-glucan-extract (β-GLUC; 60 g/kg w/w) or completely replaced with retrograded tapioca (RG; 400 g/kg w/w), resulting in 6 dietary treatments. A total of 10 crossbred barrows (initial body weight, 28 ± 1.4 kg (SD); Duroc × Large White/Landrace; Hypor, Inc., Regina, SK, Canada) were fed the 6 experimental diets. In total, 46 observations were obtained in 10 pigs over 7 periods in an incomplete 10 × 7 Youden square. Each of 7 sequential 14 days experimental periods consisted of a 9 days adaption to the diets followed by 2 days collection of feces, 2 days collection of ileal digesta for digestibility measurements, and 1 day collection of ileal digesta for the measurement of retention time. Pigs were weighed weekly during the experiment after consuming their morning meal. Feces were collected from 08.00 to 17.00 h using bags attached to rings glued around the anus. Bags were collected within 1 h after defecation and immediately frozen (-20 °C). Ileal digesta for digestibility measurements were collected from 08.00 to 17.00 h into plastic bags (10 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter). The bags were removed when filled approximately 70 % with digesta, or after a maximum of 1 h, and immediately frozen (-20 °C). For retention time measurements, on day 14 of each experimental collection, 3.4 g Cr as Cr2O3 (solid phase marker) and 3.4 g Co as Co (II)-EDTA (soluble phase marker) were mixed into the morning meal. Digesta were collected at 45, 90, 180, 270, 360, 540, and 720 min after feed consumption.
    Adaptation of faecal microbiota in sows after diet changes and consequences for in vitro fermentation capacity
    Sappok, M.A. ; Perez Gutierrez, O.N. ; Smidt, H. ; Pellikaan, W.F. ; Verstegen, M.W.A. ; Bosch, G. ; Hendriks, W.H. - \ 2015
    Animal 9 (2015)9. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 1453 - 1464.
    gas-production technique - large-intestine - growing pigs - adult-pigs - fiber - substrate - kinetics - digesta - communities - performance
    In vitro gas production studies are routinely used to assess the metabolic capacity of intestinal microbiota to ferment dietary fibre sources. The faecal inocula used during the in vitro gas production procedure are most often obtained from animals adapted to a certain diet. The present study was designed to assess whether 19 days of adaptation to a diet are sufficient for faecal inocula of pigs to reach a stable microbial composition and activity as determined by in vitro gas production. Eighteen multiparous sows were allotted to one of two treatments for three weeks: a diet high in fibre (H) or a diet low in fibre (L). After this 3-week period, the H group was transferred to the low fibre diet (HL-treatment) while the L group was transferred to the diet high in fibre (LH-treatment). Faecal samples were collected from each sow at 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 19 days after the diet change and prepared as inoculum used for incubation with three contrasting fermentable substrates: oligofructose, soya pectin and cellulose. In addition, inocula were characterised using a phylogenetic microarray targeting the pig gastrointestinal tract microbiota. Time after diet change had an effect (P
    Mutrivariate and univariate analysis of energy balance data from lactating dairy cows
    Moraes, L.E. ; Kebreab, E. ; Strathe, A.B. ; Dijkstra, J. ; France, J. ; Casper, D.P. ; Fadel, J.G. - \ 2015
    Journal of Dairy Science 98 (2015)6. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 4012 - 4029.
    body tissue mobilization - random regression - equation models - milk-production - major advances - genetic merit - growing pigs - net energy - efficiency - expression
    The objectives of the study were to develop a multivariate framework for analyzing energy balance data from lactating cows and investigate potential changes in maintenance requirements and partial efficiencies of energy utilization by lactating cows over the years. The proposed model accounted for the fact that metabolizable energy intake, milk energy output, and tissue energy balance are random variables that interact mutually. The model was specified through structural equations implemented in a Bayesian framework. The structural equations, along with a model traditionally used to estimate energetic parameters, were fitted to a large database of indirect calorimetry records from lactating cows. Maintenance requirements and partial efficiencies for both models were similar to values reported in the literature. In particular, the estimated parameters (with 95% credible interval in parentheses) for the proposed model were: net energy requirement for maintenance equal to 0.36 (0.34, 0.38) MJ/kg of metabolic body weight·day; the efficiency of utilizing dietary energy for milk production and tissue gain were 0.63 (0.61, 0.64) and 0.70 (0.68, 0.72), respectively; the efficiency of utilizing body stores for milk production was 0.89 (0.87, 0.91). Furthermore, additional analyses were conducted for which energetic parameters were allowed to depend on the decade in which studies were conducted. These models investigated potential changes in maintenance requirements and partial efficiencies over the years. Canonical correlation analysis was used to investigate the association between changes in energetic parameters with additional dietary and animal characteristics available in the database. For both models, net energy requirement for maintenance and the efficiency of utilizing dietary energy for milk production and tissue gain increased in the more recent decades, whereas the efficiency of utilizing body stores for milk production remained unchanged. The increase in maintenance requirements in modern milk production systems is consistent with the literature that describes increased fasting heat production in cows of higher genetic merit. The increase in utilization of dietary energy for milk production and tissue gain was partially attributed to the changes in dietary composition, in particular to the increase in dietary ether extract to levels closer to currently observed in modern milk production systems. Therefore, the estimated energetic parameters from this study can be used to update maintenance requirements and partial efficiencies of energy utilization in North American feeding systems for lactating cows.
    Aggression and Affiliation during Social Conflict in Pigs
    Camerlink, I. ; Turner, S.P. ; Ursinus, W.W. ; Reimert, I. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)11. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 21 p.
    acute-phase proteins - c-reactive protein - individual aggressiveness - growing pigs - interindividual distances - dominance relationships - agonistic behavior - domesticated pigs - unacquainted pigs - transport stress
    Social conflict is mostly studied in relation to aggression. A more integral approach, including aggressive and affiliative behaviour as well as physiology, may however give a better understanding of the animals' experience during social conflict. The experience of social conflict may also be reflected in the spatial distribution between conspecifics. The objective was to assess the relationship between behaviour, physiology, and spatial integration in pigs (Sus scrofa) during social conflict. Hereto, 64 groups of pigs (9 wk of age) were studied in a 24 h regrouping test whereby pairs of familiar pigs were grouped with 2 unfamiliar pairs, in either barren or straw-enriched housing. Data on aggressive and affiliative behaviour, skin lesions, body weight, and haptoglobin could be summarized into three principal component analysis factors. These three factors were analysed in relation to spatial integration, i.e. inter-individual distances and lying in body contact. Pigs stayed up to 24 h after encounter in closer proximity to the familiar pig than to unfamiliar pigs. Pigs with a high factor 1 score were more inactive, gave little social nosing, had many skin lesions and a high body weight. They tended to space further away from the familiar pig (b = 1.9 cm; P = 0.08) and unfamiliar ones (b = 0.7 cm; P = 0.05). Pigs that were involved in much aggression (factor 2), and that had a strong increase in haptoglobin (factor 3), tended to be relatively most far away from unfamiliar pigs (b = 0.03 times further; P = 0.08). Results on lying in body contact were coherent with results on distances. Pigs in enriched housing spaced further apart than pigs in barren housing (P
    Effects of acid-extrusion on the degradability of maize distillers dried grain with solubles in pigs
    Vries, S. de; Pustjens, A.M. ; Rooijen, C. van; Kabel, M.A. ; Hendriks, W.H. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. - \ 2014
    Journal of Animal Science 92 (2014)12. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 5496 - 5506.
    dietary fiber - growing pigs - amino-acid - reactive lysine - nonstarch polysaccharides - nutritional implications - gastrointestinal-tract - ethanol-production - large-intestine - wheat bran
    Commonly used feed processing technologies are not sufficient to affect recalcitrant non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) such as arabinoxylans present in maize distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS). Instead, hydrothermal treatments combined with acid catalysts might be more effective to modify these NSP. The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effects of hydrothermal maleic acid treatment (acid-extrusion) on the degradability of maize DDGS in growing pigs. It was hypothesized that acid-extrusion modifies DDGS cell wall architecture and, thereby, increases fermentability of NSP. Two diets, containing either 40% (wt/wt) unprocessed or acid-extruded DDGS, were restrictedly fed to groups of gilts (n = 11, with 4 pigs per group; initial mean BW: 20.8 ± 0.2 kg) for 18 d and performance and digestibility were analyzed. Acid-extrusion tended to decrease apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of CP (~3 percentage units, P = 0.063) and starch (~1 percentage unit, P = 0.096). Apparent digestibility of CP and starch measured at the mid colon (2 percentage units, P = 0.030 for CP and 0.3 percentage units, P <0.01 for starch) and total tract (ATTD; 3 percentage units, P <0.01 for CP and 0.2 percentage units, P = 0.024 for starch) were lower for the acid-extruded diet compared with the control diet. Hindgut disappearance was, however, not different between diets indicating that reduced CP and starch digestibility were mainly due to decreased AID. Acid-extrusion tended to increase AID of NSP (6 percentage units, P = 0.092) and increased digestibility of NSP measured at the mid colon (6 percentage units, P <0.01), whereas, hindgut disappearance and ATTD of NSP did not differ between diets. Greater NSP digestibility was mainly due to greater digestibility of arabinosyl, xylosyl, and glucosyl residues, indicating that both arabinoxylan and cellulose degradability were affected by acid-extrusion. In conclusion, these results show that acid-extrusion did not improve degradation of DDGS for growing pigs. Although acid-extrusion seemed to facilitate more rapid degradation of NSP and shifted fermentation to more proximal gastrointestinal segments, total extent of NSP degradation was not affected. More than 35% of the NSP from DDGS remained undegraded, independent of technological processing. Enzyme technologies that specifically target ester-linked acetyl, feroloyl, or coumaroyl groups were identified to be of interest for future research.
    Selection Based on Indirect Genetic Effects for Growth, Environmental Enrichment and Coping Style Affect the Immune Status of Pigs
    Reimert, I. ; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Ursinus, W.W. ; Kemp, B. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)10. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 11 p.
    individual behavioral-characteristics - social breeding values - phase protein-levels - growing pigs - sus-scrofa - multilevel selection - complement activity - natural antibodies - housing condition - finishing traits
    Pigs living in intensive husbandry systems may experience both acute and chronic stress through standard management procedures and limitations in their physical and social environment, which may have implications for their immune status. Here, the effect of a new breeding method where pigs were selected on their heritable influence on their pen mates' growth, and environmental enrichment on the immune status of pigs was investigated. Hereto, 240 pigs with a relatively positive genetic effect on the growth of their pen mates (+SBV) and 240 pigs with a relatively negative genetic effect on the growth of their pen mates (-SBV) were housed in barren or straw-enriched pens from 4 to 23 weeks of age (n = 80 pens in total). A blood sample was taken from the pigs before, three days after a 24 h regrouping test, and at week 22. In addition, effects of coping style, as assessed in a backtest, and gender were also investigated. Mainly, +SBV were found to have lower leukocyte, lymphocyte and haptoglobin concentrations than -SBV pigs. Enriched housed pigs had a lower neutrophil to lymphocyte (N:L) ratio and lower haptoglobin concentrations, but had higher antibody titers specific for Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH) than barren housed pigs. No interactions were found between SBV class and housing. Furthermore, pigs with a proactive coping style had higher alternative complement activity and, in the enriched pens, higher antibody titers specific for KLH than pigs with a reactive coping style. Lastly, females tended to have lower leukocyte, but higher haptoglobin concentrations than castrated males. Overall, these results suggest that +SBV pigs and enriched housed pigs were less affected by stress than -SBV and barren housed pigs, respectively. Moreover, immune activation might be differently organized in individuals with different coping styles and to a lesser extent in individuals of opposite genders.
    Unfermented recalcitrant polysaccharide structures from rapeseed (Brassica napus) meal in pigs
    Pustjens, A.M. ; Vries, S. de; Bakuwel, M. ; Gruppen, H. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Kabel, M.A. - \ 2014
    Industrial Crops and Products 58 (2014). - ISSN 0926-6690 - p. 271 - 279.
    cell-wall polysaccharides - nonstarch polysaccharides - canola-meal - growing pigs - poultry - digestibility - xyloglucan - enzyme - oligosaccharides - microbiome
    Unprocessed and acid-extruded rapeseed meal (RSM) was fed to pigs as the only source of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) and protein. Unfermented carbohydrate structures were analyzed. Acid-extrusion seemed to increase rigidness of the NSP-matrix in vivo, without affecting NSP-fermentability. Water-soluble NSP were almost completely fermented in the colon. From the water-insoluble unfermented carbohydrates 46–68% (w/w) was analyzed as the polysaccharides rhamnogalacturonan, (branched) arabinan, XXXG-type xyloglucan, linear xylan, galactomannan, and cellulose. A major fraction (35–54% w/w) of the unfermented carbohydrates was unexpectedly released as small uronyl-rich carbohydrates (
    Facilitating ‘learning from mom how to eat like a pig’ to improve welfare of piglets around weaning
    Oostindjer, M. ; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 160 (2014). - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 19 - 30.
    creep feed-intake - prenatal flavor exposure - different coping characteristics - newly weaned piglets - environmental enrichment - growing pigs - lactating sows - small-intestine - barrier function - mothers diet
    Piglets in commercial husbandry are weaned abruptly and at a rather young age. Many weanling piglets are poorly adapted to ingest solid food, often resulting in a period of underfeeding. The underfeeding generally leads to a poor growth, diarrhoea occurrence and the development of damaging behaviours such as belly nosing, indicating reduced welfare, in the immediate postweaning period. Weaning problems are multifactorial, but an early intake of solid food and reduced stress around weaning are major determinants of a quick adaptation of piglets to the new postweaning situation. In this paper we focus on improving welfare of piglets around weaning by allowing piglets to interact more with the sow during lactation, as would occur under more natural conditions. Besides providing piglets with more opportunity to learn from the sow about what, how and where to eat, we also discuss information transfer already before birth, perinatal flavor learning, and the merits of learning in an enriched environment. Being able to interact more with the sow is important to reduce the reluctance of piglets to eat novel foods, to increase preweaning solid food intake, and to reduce the development of damaging behaviours and increase play behaviour after weaning. Perinatal flavour learning reduced stress around weaning and increased postweaning performance and welfare. Preweaning enrichment of the environment, by providing substrates and a larger pen, can increase preweaning growth and development of feeding-related behaviours before weaning as well as food intake after weaning. Postweaning enrichment increased growth and play behaviour, and reduced the occurrence of diarrhoea and damaging behaviours. When enrichment is provided before weaning it is important to also provide enrichment after weaning. Learning from the sow and environmental enrichment are important for piglets to more easily adapt to being weaned. We conclude with recommendations for application of these results in current and future pig husbandry systems to improve welfare of newly weaned piglets.
    Tail Biting in Pigs: Blood Serotonin and Fearfulness as Pieces of the Puzzle?
    Ursinus, W.W. ; Reenen, C.G. van; Reimert, I. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)9. - ISSN 1932-6203
    obsessive-compulsive disorder - individual coping characteristics - environmental enrichment - laying hens - feather pecking - growing pigs - peripheral serotonin - behavioral-responses - platelet serotonin - growth-performance
    Tail biting in pigs is a widespread problem in intensive pig farming. The tendency to develop this damaging behaviour has been suggested to relate to serotonergic functioning and personality characteristics of pigs. We investigated whether tail biting in pigs can be associated with blood serotonin and with their behavioural and physiological responses to novelty. Pigs (n = 480) were born in conventional farrowing pens and after weaning at four weeks of age they were either housed barren (B) or in straw-enriched (E) pens. Individual pigs were exposed to a back test and novel environment test before weaning, and after weaning to a novel object (i.e. bucket) test in an unfamiliar arena. A Principal Component Analysis on behaviours during the tests and salivary cortisol (novel object test only) revealed five factors for both housing systems, labeled ‘Early life exploration’, ‘Near bucket’, ‘Cortisol’, ‘Vocalizations & standing alert’, and ‘Back test activity’. Blood samples were taken at 8, 9 and 22 weeks of age to determine blood platelet serotonin. In different phases of life, pigs were classified as tail biter/non-tail biter based on tail biting behaviour, and as victim/non-victim based on tail wounds. A combination of both classifications resulted in four pig types: biters, victims, biter/victims, and neutrals. Generally, only in phases of life during which pigs were classified as tail biters, they seemed to have lower blood platelet serotonin storage and higher blood platelet uptake velocities. Victims also seemed to have lower blood serotonin storage. Additionally, in B housing, tail biters seemed to consistently have lower scores of the factor ‘Near bucket’, possibly indicating a higher fearfulness in tail biters. Further research is needed to elucidate the nature of the relationship between peripheral 5-HT, fearfulness and tail biting, and to develop successful strategies and interventions to prevent and reduce tail biting.
    Tail biting behaviour and tail damage in pigs and the relationship with general behaviour: Predicting the inevitable?
    Ursinus, W.W. ; Reenen, C.G. van; Kemp, B. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2014
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 156 (2014). - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 22 - 36.
    decision-support-system - environmental enrichment - fattening pigs - coping characteristics - social behaviors - semantic model - weaned piglets - finishing pigs - growing pigs - farm-animals
    Tail biting behaviour in pigs is a common problem in conventional housing systems. Our study examined the consistency over time in tail biting and tail damage and it explored the predictive value of general behaviours observed in individual pigs and in pens as a whole. Pigs (n = 480), reared in conventional farrowing pens with a sow crate, were followed from pre-weaning to slaughter (23 weeks). Post-weaning, piglets were housed barren (B) or enriched (E). Behaviours were observed pre-weaning (averaged per litter) and post-weaning in three phases (weaner, grower, finisher) (averaged per pig/phase). Tail damage of individual pigs was scored weekly from weaning (4 weeks) onwards (averaged per phase). Relationships between tail biting and tail damage with behaviour were investigated both at individual and pen level using mixed or generalized linear mixed models and Spearman's rank correlations, respectively. Tail biting and tail damage (2.1 ± 0.05, 1 = no tail damage, 4 = tail wound) were already observed pre-weaning. Post-weaning, tail biting and tail damage were less prevalent in E compared to B housing (P <0.001). Tail biting behaviour in individual pigs was not consistently observed over time, i.e. none of the pigs was tail biter in all three phases, so new tail biters were found in later phases and some of the already identified tail biters stopped tail biting completely or temporarily. In B housing 38.3% and in E housing 5.6% of pigs was identified as tail biter in at least one phase post-weaning. B housed tail biters in different phases were likely to originate from litters with a relatively high level of tail biting behaviour pre-weaning (P <0.05–0.01). Generally, post-weaning victims were likely to be a victim again in successive phases of life (B: P <0.10–0.001; E: P <0.01). Tail biting and tail damage were best predicted by behaviours at pen level and less by behaviours at the individual level: a higher activity, and more pig and pen-directed manipulative behaviours were observed in pens with high levels of tail biting. Particularly higher levels of chewing or consuming objects such as jute sacks could be useful in predicting tail bite outbreaks. To conclude, tail biting in pigs starts early in life and is difficult to predict due to its inconsistency, although tail damage is more consistent throughout life. Especially behaviour observed at litter or pen level is a promising tool in predicting tail biting and tail damage.
    The impact of broiler production system practices on consumer perceptions of animal welfare
    Jonge, J. de; Trijp, J.C.M. van - \ 2013
    Poultry Science 92 (2013)12. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 3080 - 3095.
    growing pigs - preferences - chickens - poultry - meat - food - values - orientations - information - attitudes
    This research explores the extent to which different farm management practices influence the perceived animal friendliness of broiler production systems, and how this differs between individuals. Using a conjoint design with paired comparisons, respondents evaluated broiler production systems that were described on the basis of 7 animal welfare-related practices. It was found that practices in the area of outdoor access, stocking density, and day-night rhythm were overall perceived to have a larger impact on perceptions of animal friendliness than other practices, such as transport duration or the type of breed used. However, individuals differed regarding the extent to which they believed the different farm management practices influenced the animal friendliness of the production system. Differences between individuals regarding their knowledge about and familiarity with livestock farming, degree of anthropomorphism, and their moral beliefs regarding animal welfare partly explained the relative importance individuals attached to farm management practices. The obtained insight into which welfare-related farm management practices, in consumers’ minds, most strongly contribute to animal welfare, and the existence of differences between consumers, can be helpful in the development of animal welfare-based certification schemes that are appealing to consumers, as well as the positioning of welfare concepts in the market. Key words: broiler production system , animal welfare , consumer perception, conjoint analysis , individual difference
    Large intestinal fermentation capacity of fattening pigs on organic farms as measured in vitro using contrasting substrates
    Sappok, M.A. ; Pellikaan, W.F. ; Verstegen, M.W.A. ; Bosch, G. ; Sundrum, A. ; Hendriks, W.H. - \ 2013
    Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 93 (2013)10. - ISSN 0022-5142 - p. 2402 - 2409.
    gas-production kinetics - dietary fiber - gastrointestinal-tract - growing pigs - stomached animals - digestibility - temperature - microbiota - digestion - feces
    Background In accordance with the EU regulations, organic farms require pigs to be fed diets high in fibre, which may impact on the pigs' large intestinal fermentation capacity. The ability of pigs to ferment non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) depends on characteristics of the dietary NSP source and microbes present in the large intestine of pigs. Little information exists on the fibre fermentation capacity of organically raised pigs. The aim of this study was to determine the variation in fibre fermentation capacity of fattening pigs within and between organic farms using an in vitro batch culture method and three contrasting substrates: oligofructose, soy pectin and cellulose. Results Pigs from different organic farms showed varying fermentation capacities as assessed by gas production, kinetics and fermentation end-products formed (P¿
    Processing Technologies and Cell Wall Degrading Enzymes To Improve Nutritional Value of Dried Distillers Grain with Solubles for Animal Feed: an in Vitro Digestion Study
    Vries, S. de; Pustjens, A.M. ; Kabel, M.A. ; Salazar-Villanea, S. ; Hendriks, W.H. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. - \ 2013
    Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 61 (2013)37. - ISSN 0021-8561 - p. 8821 - 8828.
    amino-acid - dietary fiber - growing pigs - nonstarch polysaccharides - corn - fermentation - gas - ingredients - ethanol - digestibility
    Currently, the use of maize dried distillers grain with solubles (DDGS) as protein source in animal feed is limited by the inferior protein quality and high levels of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). Processing technologies and enzymes that increase NSP degradability might improve digestive utilization of DDGS, enhancing its potential as a source of nutrients for animals. The effects of various combinations of processing technologies and commercial enzyme mixtures on in vitro digestion and subsequent fermentation of DDGS were tested. Wet-milling, extrusion, and mild hydrothermal acid treatment increased in vitro protein digestion but had no effect on NSP. Severe hydrothermal acid treatments, however, effectively solubilized NSP (48–78%). Addition of enzymes did not affect NSP solubilization in unprocessed or processed DDGS. Although the cell wall structure of DDGS seems to be resistant to most milder processing technologies, in vitro digestion of DDGS can be effectively increased by severe hydrothermal acid treatments.
    Indirect Genetic Effects and Housing Conditions in Relation to Aggressive Behaviour in Pigs
    Camerlink, I. ; Turner, S.P. ; Bijma, P. ; Bolhuis, J.E. - \ 2013
    PLoS ONE 8 (2013)6. - ISSN 1932-6203
    individual coping characteristics - environmental enrichment - growing pigs - variance-components - heritable variation - breeding programs - cognitive bias - finishing pigs - animal-welfare - social stress
    Indirect Genetic Effects (IGEs), also known as associative effects, are the heritable effects that an individual has on the phenotype of its social partners. Selection for IGEs has been proposed as a method to reduce harmful behaviours, in particular aggression, in livestock and aquaculture. The mechanisms behind IGEs, however, have rarely been studied. The objective was therefore to assess aggression in pigs which were divergently selected for IGEs on growth (IGEg). In a one generation selection experiment, we studied 480 offspring of pigs (Sus scrofa) that were selected for relatively high or low IGEg and housed in homogeneous IGEg groups in either barren or enriched environments. Skin lesion scores, a proxy measure of aggression, and aggressive behaviours were recorded. The two distinct IGEg groups did not differ in number of skin lesions, or in amount of reciprocal fighting, both under stable social conditions and in confrontation with unfamiliar pigs in a 24 h regrouping test. Pigs selected for a positive effect on the growth of their group members, however, performed less non-reciprocal biting and showed considerably less aggression at reunion with familiar group members after they had been separated during a 24 h regrouping test. The enriched environment was associated with more skin lesions but less non-reciprocal biting under stable social conditions. Changes in aggression between pigs selected for IGEg were not influenced by G×E interactions with regard to the level of environmental enrichment. It is likely that selection on IGEg targets a behavioural strategy, rather than a single behavioural trait such as aggressiveness.
    Working and reference memory of pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) in a holeboard spatial discrimination task: the influence of environmental enrichment
    Bolhuis, J.E. ; Oostindjer, M. ; Hoeks, C.W.F. ; Haas, E.N. de; Bartels, A.C. ; Ooms, M. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2013
    Animal Cognition 16 (2013)5. - ISSN 1435-9448 - p. 845 - 850.
    different coping characteristics - prefrontal cortex - growing pigs - performance - behavior - stress - rats - hippocampus - responses
    Interest in cognitive research in pigs is increasing, but little is known about the impact of environmental conditions on pigs’ cognitive capabilities. The present study investigated the effect of environmental enrichment on cognitive performance of pigs in a holeboard spatial task, in which they had to discriminate four baited buckets out of 16. Pigs (n = 32) were either housed in stimulus-poor, barren pens, or in larger pens enriched with rooting substrates. Pigs were subjected to 30 holeboard trials. Both working memory (WM), that is, the ratio (baited visits/total number of (re)visits to baited buckets), and reference memory (RM), that is, the ratio ((re)visits to baited buckets/total number of visits to all buckets), improved over trials. WM scores were higher in pigs from enriched pens than in pigs from barren pens. Housing did not affect RM scores. Personality type of the pigs, as assessed early in life using a backtest, did not affect WM or RM. In conclusion, housing conditions of pigs did not affect reference memory, but environmental enrichment improved working memory of pigs in a spatial discrimination task. Based on the findings of this study, we suggest that cognitive functioning of pigs may be impaired under commonly used housing conditions.
    Indicators of positive and negative emotions and emotional contagion in pigs
    Reimert, I. ; Bolhuis, J.E. ; Kemp, B. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2013
    Physiology and Behavior 109 (2013)1. - ISSN 0031-9384 - p. 42 - 50.
    animal-welfare - domestic pigs - sus-scrofa - physiological-responses - coping characteristics - salivary cortisol - social-isolation - cognitive bias - farm-animals - growing pigs
    For the welfare of group-housed animals, such as pigs, the emotional state of an individual pig is relevant, but also the extent to which pen mates are affected by the distress or pleasure of other individuals, i.e. emotional contagion, a simple form of empathy. Therefore, indicators of positive and negative emotions were investigated in pigs during anticipation and experience of a rewarding (access in pairs to a compartment with straw, peat and chocolate raisins) or aversive (social isolation combined with negative, unpredictable interventions) event. Thereafter the same indicators were investigated in naive pigs during anticipation and experience of a rewarding or aversive event by their trained pen mates. Positive emotions could be indicated by play, barks and tail movements, while negative emotions could be indicated by freezing, defecating, urinating, escape attempts, high-pitched vocalizations (screams, squeals or grunt-squeals), tail low, ears back and ear movements. Salivary cortisol measurements supported these behavioral observations. During anticipation of the aversive event, naive pigs tended to show more tail low. During the aversive event, naive pigs tended to defecate more, while they played more during the rewarding event. These results suggest that pigs might be sensitive to emotional contagion, which could have implications for the welfare of group-housed pigs. Pig emotions and the process of emotional contagion merit, therefore, further research.
    Repeated measurements of in vitro fermentation of fibre-rich substrates using large intestinal microbiota of sows
    Sappok, M.A. ; Pellikaan, W.F. ; Verstegen, M.W.A. ; Bosch, G. ; Sundrum, A. ; Hendriks, W.H. - \ 2013
    Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 93 (2013)5. - ISSN 0022-5142 - p. 987 - 994.
    volatile fatty-acids - human fecal bacteria - dietary fiber - protein-synthesis - growing pigs - stomached animals - feed ingredients - swine manure - fermentability - carbohydrate
    BACKGROUND: Fibrous ingredients for pig diets can be characterized by in vitro fermentation. In vitro fermentation methods often use a one-time measurement of gas production during the incubation of test substrates with one faecal inoculum. The representativeness of this approach can be questioned as measuring time and number of animals from which inoculum originates may influence fermentation results. An in vitro fermentation trial was conducted incubating three fibrous substrates with three inocula in five replicates (different fermentation runs) to test the influence of run and origin of inocula. RESULTS: Total gas production and maximal rate of gas production differed (P <0.05) between fermentation runs, but less than substrates (P <0.01). The ranking order between substrates remained similar for each run. Fermentation of cellulose led to higher coefficients of variation between inocula compared to the fast fermentable substrates oligofructose and soy pectin. Differences ranged from 2% for total gas production up to 25% for maximal rate of gas production. CONCLUSION: One fermentation run can provide representative results for substrate ranking. Using multiple inocula mixed from four faecal samples each leads to high coefficients of variation for slow fermentable substrates like cellulose. Future studies should examine the optimal number of animals for inocula preparation to decrease variation.
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