The role of genetic selection on agonistic behavior and welfare of gestating sows housed in large semi-static groups

Authors: Brajon, SophieAhloy Dallaire, Jamie; Devillers, Nicolas; Guay, Frédéric
Abstract: Confinement of gestating sows is becoming banished in favor of group-housing in countries worldwide, forcing breeding companies to develop genetic lines adapted for social living. This study aimed at assessing the influence of two genetic lines selected for high performance (HP1, HP2, derived from Landrace × Yorkshire) on welfare and reproductive performance of sows housed in large semi-static groups (20 groups of 46–91 animals) across several parities. To address this, agonistic behaviors were recorded on d0, d2, d27, and d29 post-mixing while body lesions were scored on d1, d26, and d84. Sows’ individual and reproductive performances were also recorded. HP2 sows were more aggressive than HP1 sows since they fought (p = 0.028) and bullied (p = 0.0009) pen-mates more frequently on d0–d2. HP2 sows had more total body lesions throughout gestation than HP1 sows at higher parities (p < 0.0001). Regarding reproductive performance, HP2 sows lost less piglets (p < 0.0001) and tended to wean more piglets (p = 0.067) than HP1 sows. In conclusion, while HP2 sows were the most aggressive, HP1 sows had piglets with lower survivability, which raises ethical issues in both cases and points to the need of considering social aspects when developing genetic lines for group-housing.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 4 December 2020
Open Access Date: 16 June 2021
Document version: VoR
Creative Commons Licence:
This document was published in: Animals, Vol. 10 (12), 1-20 (2020)
Alternative version: 10.3390/ani10122299
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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