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The Effect of Aromatized Environmental Enrichment in Pen on Social Relations and Behavioural Profile of Newly Mixed Weaners

Nowicki, Jacek, Klocek, Czesław
Annals of animal science 2012 v.12 no.3 pp. 403-412
aggression, environmental enrichment, piglets, weaning, weanlings
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of the presence of aromatized environmental enrichment elements in pen for weaners in newly created groups on the daily behavioural profile and their social hierarchy (time taken to establish hierarchical relationships, aggression level). The subject of the study were 72 weaners. After weaning piglets coming from two different litters were joined together and later 6 animals were placed in two adjacent pens (1.6 m x 2.2 m). One of the pens was additionally supplied with an aromatized element such as a chew toy enabling weaners to play. The behaviour was recorded for 72 hours after weaning and for 24 hours 14 days after weaning and the creation of the groups. The study was repeated 6 times. The following data was gathered: duration of activity and, specifically, duration of feed intake, duration and frequency of fights, duration and frequency of interest in toy in groups where the toy was present, and finally duration of rest. The presence of an aromatized toy in a pen decreased the level of aggression in weaners in the first days after weaning. Suitable selection of features of an additional object enriching the environment of a pen after animal weaning may significantly contribute to mitigation of fighting and aggression during the establishment of social hierarchy.