Parturient behaviour and offspring-directed aggression in farmed wild boar of three genetic lines.

Harris, M.J., Bergeron, R. and Gonyou, H.W. (2001) Parturient behaviour and offspring-directed aggression in farmed wild boar of three genetic lines. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 74 (2). pp. 153-163.

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The farming of ‘alternative’ species such as wild boar is becoming increasingly common in western agriculture. Relatively little has been published about the behaviour of wild boar in captivity, and data about parturition and maternal behaviour are particularly scarce. Twenty-four primiparous farmed wild boar females of three genetic lines (SD, San Diego; PK, Peter Kalden; S, Scandinavian) were videotaped before and during parturition, and production data were recorded. Sows were housed in individual, well-strawed pens measuring m. The duration of parturition, duration of inter-birth intervals (IBIs), frequency of posture changes before and during parturition and nature of parturient behaviour were recorded. Offspring-directed aggression displayed by the sows was scored as 0 (none), 1 (moderate) or 2 (severe). A score of 2 indicated that a sow killed one or more of her young and/or human intervention was required to control her aggression. Mean±S.D. litter size was 5.4±1.5 young. Mean±S.D. duration of parturition was 81.4±79.2 min. Litter size and duration of parturition did not vary with genetic line. Eight sows (33.3%) showed some offspring-directed aggression; of these, two killed one or more of their young. Aggression score varied with sows’ genetic line: SD sows (62.5% of which scored 1 or 2) were more aggressive than either PK (22.2%) or S (14.3%; P<0.05), and only SD females exhibited severe aggression. Parturition lasted longer in sows scoring 2 (mean±S.E. duration=211.8±27.3 min; n=4) than those scoring either 0 (56.0±13.7 min; n=16) or 1 (52.8±27.3 min; n=4; P<0.001). Similarly, IBIs were longer in sows scoring 2 (mean±S.E. IBI=51.6±9.5 min) than those scoring 0 (13.1±4.8 min) or 1 (12.7±9.5 min; P<0.01). Sows scoring 2 changed posture more often (mean±S.E. changes=65.8±12.0) during parturition than those scoring 0 (12.3±6.0) or 1 (2.8±12.0; P<0.01). These findings contribute to our limited understanding of maternal behaviour in wild boar, and may be useful in helping to explain savaging behaviour in domestic sows.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Darren Roberts
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2018 16:33
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2018 14:35

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