Browsing by Subject "pig behaviour"

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  • Pirttinen, Heli (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The aim of this study was to assess animal welfare on-farm and investigate the associations of assessed welfare and environment to the behavior of growing and finishing pigs. Welfare Quality® protocol for growing and finishing pigs was used for evaluation of welfare, environment and behaviour. Welfare assessments were done on 53 finishing pig farms and 30 finisher units on integrated farms between December 2010 and June 2011. Welfare Quality® index is divided in four principles: “good feeding”, “good housing”, “good health” and “appropriate behavior”. Principles are divided in 12 criteria, that are further more divided in 30 measurable parameters. Index includes both animal and environment-based measures. All criteria were scored on the scale 0-100. Criteria scores are the base for principle scores. Principles were scored from 0 to 100 weighed by the weakest criteria. Connections between exploratory criteria score and principle score of behavior to environment were studied with correlation and regression analyses. On average finishing pig farms were larger than the finisher units on integrated farms. Both production manners represent comprehensive Finnish pig production. There were no interactions between social behavior and environment. There was significant differ between production manners on the criteria score of social behavior (p=0,036). Criteria score on finisher units of integrated farms were lower (median 83,3) than on finisher pig farms (median 92,1). There was positive correlation between positive and negative social behavior (0,222; p=0,044). There was significant differ between QBA criteria score and the amount of enrichment material (p=0,001). Farms, that gave only enrichment material had lower QBA score (median 73,90) than farms, that used also litter material (median 86,95). Social behaviour, QBA and principle score of housing explain 32,7 % of the dispersion of explora-tory behavior. There was connection between principle score of behavior and environment. Area, weight of the pigs, severe lameness and severe dirtiness explained 36,5 % of the dispersion of principle scores of behavior. Even though weight, lameness and dirtiness are not directly environment parametres, they were taken to the model because they correlated strongly with the principle scores of behavior. Weight of the pigs was assumed to affect to behavior, and lameness and dirtiness are animal-based measures that reflect the environment. There were connections between on-farm assessed welfare and environment to pig behaviour. Animal-based measures give more substantive picture how the animal is coping in its environment than environment-based measures. Reliable on-farm welfare assessment tool is the only way to maintain and improve animal welfare on a manner, that satisfies producers, consumers and researchers.