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An investigation into the effect of different protein and energy intakes on model tail chewing behaviour of growing pigs

Lookup NU author(s): Jayne McIntyre, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Twenty-four cross-bred pigs were housed individually and allocated at 62 kg (S.E.M. = 0.81) to one of three diets providing differing daily protein and energy intakes: control (C) 1.42 g CP/MJ DE, fed to provide 2.85 maintenance energy; low protein (LP) 0.76 g CP/MJ DE fed to provide the same daily energy intake as C; and low energy (LE) 2.06 g CP/MJ DE fed to provide 72% of the daily energy intake but the same daily CP intake as C. All diets were offered once daily. Over a 6-week period, with 1 week pre-treatment and 5 weeks on the experimental treatments, pigs were presented with a pair of tail models, one of which had been soaked in pig's blood and the other in distilled water, and their total chewing activity and preference for the blood-soaked tail model recorded. Growth rates of the LP and LE pigs were similar and below those of C (C = 896 g per day; LP = 626 g per day; LE = 618 g per day; S.E.M. = 30.3; P < 0.001). Diet had a significant effect on the preference scores of the pigs in week 6 (P < 0.05) only. There was a significant effect of week on the chewing (P < 0.01) and preference scores (P < 0.001) of the pigs, but no consistent trend over time or treatment x time interaction. Regression of the pigs' preference scores in week 6 on their weight gains over the 5 weeks on the experimental diets was significant (P < 0.01). These results suggest that sensitivity of model tail chewing behaviour to dietary modification may be lower than previously demonstrated. This could be because the methodology and age of pigs in this experiment differed to that reported previously. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards SA; McIntyre J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Year: 2002

Volume: 77

Issue: 2

Pages: 93-104

ISSN (print): 0168-1591

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9045

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/S0168-1591(02)00044-8


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