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Environmental and genetic influence on the development of adverse behaviour in pigs - AW0126

Description
Adverse behaviour such as ear, tail and flank biting in growing pigs and vulva biting in sows is a major welfare problem for the animals concerned, one of the major production/economic issues for the producer and creates negative consumer perception. These harmful social behaviours are not a recent development in pig production but, despite many efforts, they have not been eliminated. One of the reasons for the lack of progress in eliminating these behaviours has been the approach of trying to identify one predisposing factor or alternatively trying to treat the symptom of tail biting or vuvla biting without understanding why the behaviour occurs. The main objective of this proposal is to understand the underlying motivation behind adverse behaviours, how this varies among pigs of different genetic makeup and how it might be modified by environmental and nutritional factors during rearing.
Objective
01: To develop a predictive test of the predisposition of pigs to show harmful social behaviour (vice) which can be applied under commercial conditions and relate this to ohter behavioural traits.
02: To measure the influence of level of enrichmetn in the rearing environemnt on the predispostion of pigs to show harmful social behaviour during finishing and pregnancy, and their subsequent maternal beahvioru.
03: To measure the interactive effects of maternal experience and lactation environemnt ont he ability of piglets to cope wit weaning stress and their subsequent predispositioin to show harmful social behaviour.
04: To measure the eefct of weaning age on the development of behaviour in pigs and their subsequent predisposition to show harmful social behaviour.
05: To measure the effects of pre- and potnatal supplementation with essential fatty acids on the ability of piglets to cope with weaning stress and their subsequent predisposition to show harmful social behaviour.
06: To compare different breeds of pig with respect to their predispostion to show harmful social behaviour.
07: To measure the heritability of the predisposition of pigs to show harmful social behaviour and its phenotypic and genetic correlations with a range of economically important traits.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Environmental and genetic influence on the development of adverse behaviour in pigs   (173k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1999

To: 2003

Cost: £284,574
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agricultural Research Institute of NI, University - Aberdeen, University - Newcastle
Keywords
Farming              
Genetics              
Livestock Farming              
Pigs              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare