Title: Cognitive Enrichment in Piglet Rearing: An Approach to Enhance Animal Welfare and to Reduce Aggressive Behaviour
Authors: Sonoda, Lilia ×
Fels, Michaela
Rauterberg, Sally
Viazzi, Stefano
Ismayilova, Gunel
Oczak, Maciej
Bahr, Claudia
Guarino, Marcella
Vranken, Erik
Berckmans, Daniel
Hartung, Joerg #
Issue Date: 19-Aug-2013
Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Series Title: ISRN Veterinary Science
Article number: 389186
Abstract: It is known that pigs raised in enriched environments express less aggressive behaviour. For this reason, a new method of cognitive environmental enrichment was experimented at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany. In the first phase, 78 suckling piglets were trained to learn the link between a sound given by an electronic feeder and a feed reward in the form of chocolate candies during a period of 8 days. In the second phase, the same piglets were used in resident-intruder tests to verify the potential of the feeding system to interrupt aggressive behaviour. The analysis of all training rounds revealed that piglets learned the commands during 8 days of training and the interest of the piglets increased within training days ( ). In the resident-intruder test, 79.5% of aggressive interactions were broken by feeder activation. In interactions where either the aggressor or the receiver reacted, a high number of fights were stopped (96.7% versus 93.1%) indicating that it was not relevant if the aggressor or the receiver responded to the feeder activation. We conclude that the electronic feeding system has the potential to be used as cognitive enrichment for piglets, being suitable for reducing aggressive behaviour in resident-intruder situations.
ISSN: 2090-4460
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division M3-BIORES: Measure, Model & Manage Bioresponses (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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