Scan sampling techniques for behavioral validation in nursery pigs

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Bowden, Josh
Stalder, Ken
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Karriker, Locke
Morrill Professor
Johnson, Anna
Professor Animal Behavior and Welfare
Stalder, Kenneth
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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Summary and implications

Behavioral observations are a type of "assay" that is used to quantify animal biological responses. As with physiological measurements, methods of behavioral observation should be validated and selected based on the objectives of the particular study. The objective of this study was to validate the accuracy of scan samples at various predetermined intervals for confined nursery pigs. Twenty, 35 day old PIC® (USA) nursery pigs were housed in four pens within a confinement building. Eight scan sample treatments (1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes) were individually compared to continuous observation. A scan sample was defined as the first second for each scan interval (1 minute scan sample intervals provided 60 selected scans of one second duration per pig per hour). The percentage of the total time observed for each behavior and posture were then calculated for each pen. Drinking differed (P = 0.0019) from che continuous data at intervals greater than 5 minutes or more. For all other behaviors and postures there were no (P > 0.05) differences berween scan treatments and the continuous data.

In conclusion, scan samples under these experimental conditions were accurate for all nursery pig behaviors and postures except drinking.


This proceeding is from Bowden, J. M., L. A. Karriker,, K. J. Stalder, and A. K. Johnson. 2008. Behavioral Validation for Nursery Pigs. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, San Diego, California, pp 327-328. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008