GROWTH PATTERN AND BEHAVIOURAL RESPONSE OF WEANED PIGS TO MULTIPLE ENRICHMENT OBJECTS (POLYESTER ROPES)

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Ayoola Abidemi Famakinwa
Olufemi Adebukola Adebiyi
Isaac Oluseun Adejumo

Abstract

Pigs in an intensive production system usually exhibit adverse behaviour, which as a result requires the provision of enrichment objects. This study, therefore, was designed to determine the growth pattern and behavioural response of weaned pigs enriched with polyester rope (PR). Thirty-six pigs were allotted into four treatments (T) of three replicates in a completely randomized design. Pigs in control (T1) had no PR, while T2, T3 and T4 had one, two and three PRs, respectively. Behavioural observations were monitored with CCTV and recordings were made for 6 hours/day (09:00 − 12:00 and 15:00 − 18:00) in 3 days/week. At the end of the experiment, average feed intake and weight gain were determined, while the feed conversion ratio was calculated and the data were analysed using ANOVA. Behavioural observations: enrichment use (EU), pen-component manipulation (PCM) and pen-mate manipulation (PMM) were observed and analysed using repeated measures. Results revealed that polyester rope (irrespective of the number) had no significant effect (P > 0.05) on average feed intake and final weight. However, pigs in T2 (7.94 kg) had significantly lower average weight gain compared to the control group. Conversely, pigs in T4 (30.59 %) recorded higher value in EU compared with T2 (11.90 %) and T3 (23.59 %). Time of observation also had a significant effect (P < 0.05) with higher enrichment use of 23.86 % at 15:00 − 18:00 hours compared to 20.81 % at 09:00 − 12:00 hours. Experimental animals on polyester ropes (two and three), as used in this study, were comparable with the control group for body weight gain and feed conversion ratio.

Keywords
  • animal welfare
  • behavioural response
  • environmental enrichment
  • pen manipulation
  • pig
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