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The role of novelty in environmental enrichment for the weaned pig

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan Guy, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Habituation to environmental enrichment objects can occur rapidly. Novelty of an object is an important property involved in initiating and maintaining exploration, and this can be achieved by renewing objects. The aims of this study were to assess whether alternation of two contrasting objects increased enrichment value, and whether simultaneous access increased overall object-directed behaviour in comparison with single presentation of each object. The experiment was designed as a 2 x 2 factorial, with 2 enrichment objects (suspended rope and loose wood block) and 2 presentation methods (continuous access, or weekly alternation). An additional treatment examined object use when both objects were presented simultaneously. Five replicate pens, each of 10 weaned pigs, were allocated to each treatment: R, continuous rope; W, continuous wood; R/W, alternation rope-wood: W/R, alternation wood-rope: R+W, Simultaneous rope and wood. Observations of behaviour were made for two 1-h periods, three times a week for a 4-week period. Direct scan samples at 5-min intervals measured use of the enrichment object(s), penmate and pen manipulation, and general activity. These were supplemented by two 24 h time-lapse video recordings made in the first and last experimental weeks. Object interaction was significantly affected by treatment, with W spending a lower overall proportion of observations in contact with the object than the other treatments (in order 0.102. 0.037, 0.093, 0.110, 0.134, s.e.d. 0.007; P

Publication metadata

Author(s): Trickett SL, Guy JH, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Year: 2009

Volume: 116

Issue: 1

Pages: 45-51

ISSN (print): 0168-1591

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9045

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.07.007


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