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Open-field test behaviors of 36 gestating gilts maintained in either tethers, crates, loose stalls or dirt-lot (N = 9 per treatment) were recorded. The gestation crates (C) were 0.6 m wide by 1.7 m long and enclosed by bars on all 4 sides. Tethered (T) gilts were anchored to the concrete floor by 50.8-cm chains attached to neck collars. The 0.6 1.7-m loose stalls (LS) opened into a slatted concrete dunging area (0.7 1.7 m) containing a nipple waterer which was shared by 3 loose stalls. The dirt-lot (DL) was 15.2 30.5 m with a 2-sided shed at one end which contained 3 feeding stalls (each 0.6 1.7 m) and a den area (2.9 1.9 m). The gilts were tested for 5 min 3 days after being bred and placed in their respective treatments, and weekly thereafter for 8 weeks. The field tests were conducted in a 3 12-m enclosure on pasture. Data collected included numbers of bouts and time spent chewing, grazing, snout employment (rooting, nudging and sniffing), vocalizations, standing, walking, trotting, running/bucking and distance traveled. Across all test days, the T and C gilts performed more bouts of standing and walking than did DL gilts. Crated gilts ran/bucked more than T gilts, who ran/bucked more than LS gilts, and LS gilts ran/bucked more than DL gilts. These findings suggest that an increased specific-action potential for specific innate motor patterns results from maintaining gilts in housing with minimal amounts of maneuvering and interaction room. 1987.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
author list (cited authors)
Taylor, L., & Friend, T. H.