Do Yorkshire Gilts Become Habituated to Repeated Weighing Over a Trial?

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2011-01-01
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Sadler, Larry
Young, Jennifer
Dekkers, Jack
Nettleton, Daniel
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Lonergan, Steven
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Johnson, Anna
Professor Animal Behavior and Welfare
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The objective of this study was to determine if Yorkshire gilts become habituated to the process of weighing. A total of 192 pure bred Yorkshire gilts were used. The gilts were housed in 12 pens, 16 gilts/pen providing a space allowance of 0.82 m2/gilt. Gilts were weighed every 2-wks for a maximum of eight scores/ gilt. Gilts were scored while on the weigh scale for activity using a whole number scale of one to five (1 = calm, minimal movement; 5 = continuous rapid movement and an escape attempt) at two different time points, T = 0 (as soon as the back gate was closed and T = 15, 15 sec after the back gate was closed. Analyses were done using Proc Mixed of SAS. The differences during round one between T = 0 and T = 15 was 1 point on the 5 point scale. By round eight this had dropped down to a difference of 0.2. During the first round over both time points the gilts scored on average 2.5, by round 5 this had dropped down to around 1.5 at which point it stabilized. In conclusion, Yorkshire gilts appear to become habituated to the process of weighing over the course of a trial, and as such do not seem to find the process highly aversive.

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Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2011
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