Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/116581
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Type: Journal article
Title: Enrichment in the sucker and weaner phase altered the performance of pigs in three behavioural tests
Author: Ralph, C.
Hebart, M.
Cronin, G.
Citation: Animals, 2018; 8(5):74-1-74-15
Publisher: MDPI
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 2076-2615
2076-2615
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Cameron Ralph, Michelle Hebart and Greg M. Cronin
Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that provision of enrichment in the form of enrichment blocks during the sucker and weaner phases would affect the behaviour of pigs. We measured the performance of pigs in an open field/novel object test, a maze test, an executive function test and the cortisol response of the pigs after exposure to an open field test. The provision of enrichment blocks altered the behaviour of the pigs in all three tests and these changes suggest an increased willingness to explore and possibly an increased ability to learn. The behavioural tests highlighted that young pigs have the capacity to learn complex tasks. Our findings support the notion that the benefits of enrichment cannot be evaluated by measuring the interactions the animal has with the enrichments in the home pen and it may simply be beneficial to live in a more complex environment. We have highlighted that the early rearing environment is important and that the management and husbandry at an early age can have long-term implications for pigs. The enrichment we used in this study was very simple, an enrichment block, and we provide evidence suggesting the provision of enrichment effected pig behavioural responses. Even the simplest of enrichments may have benefits for the welfare and development of young pigs and there is merit in developing enrichment devices that are suitable for use in pig production.
Keywords: Enrichment block; early life experience; pig welfare
Rights: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
RMID: 0030088762
DOI: 10.3390/ani8050074
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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