Animal science Group of Wageningen UR

Lelystad, Netherlands

Animal science Group of Wageningen UR

Lelystad, Netherlands

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Gourdine J.L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | de Greef K.H.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Rydhmer L.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Livestock Science | Year: 2010

Despite the societal and market attention, to our knowledge, there is no breeding program for outdoor pig production in which improvement in animal welfare is emphasized. In this study, a dam-line selected for an outdoor production system was simulated. The purpose was to investigate the opportunities for improving welfare through traditional selection methods. The genetic gain from simulated breeding programs was compared for three alternative scenarios: 1) a conventional scheme that improves production and reproduction traits (litter size, piglet mortality (PM), mean piglet weight at weaning, weaning-to-mating interval (WMI), average daily gain (ADG) from birth to 20kg, ADG from 20 to 100kg, and lean content); 2) extension of the first scenario with welfare considerations including leg condition of sows after first lactation (LEGw) and additional non-market values on PM and WMI; and 3) a breeding program for welfare in which genetic progress of traits important for welfare (mothering ability and sow longevity) was obtained by increasing the non-market values of LEGw, PM and WMI. The simulation showed that, compared with weights found in the literature, greater weights on LEGw, PM and WMI (approximately 3, 2 and 7 times higher, respectively) were required to avoid deterioration of these traits. The improvement of traits important to welfare was realized with a reduction in the genetic gain of production traits. Thus, the implementation of a breeding program for welfare in outdoor production requires other prerequisites than the market value of the genetic progress only. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Averos X.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Averos X.,Agrocampus Ouest | Brossard L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Brossard L.,Agrocampus Ouest | And 7 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2010

To obtain quantitative information that can be later used in animal welfare modelling, the relationship between the lying behaviour of growing-finishing pigs (initial body weight (BW) between 19 and 87 kg) and different factors related to the housing conditions, with a potential negative effect on their welfare, was studied by means of a meta-analytical approach. Data from 22 experiments reported in 21 scientific publications were collected. The space allowance, expressed on an allometric basis by means of a k-value (m 2/BW0.667), the group size (n) and the floor characteristics (fully and partly slatted v. non-slatted floor), as well as their significant two-way interactions were used as fixed effects, and the experiment was used as a random factor to take into account the interexperiment effect. Further regression analyses were performed on the predicted values of observations in order to improve the adjustment of data. A significant quadratic relationship was established between space allowance (k-value, P < 0.05; squared k-value, P < 0.01) and the percentage of time spent lying. A significant interaction between the k-value and the floor type was also found (P < 0.05), showing that the relationship between space allowance and lying behaviour is affected by the presence or absence of slats. Threshold k-values were obtained using broken-line analyses, being about 0.039 for slatted floors and almost double for non-slatted floors. Compared to other studies, these values suggest that the ability to rest as space availability decreases may be compromised before a reduced performance becomes apparent. Group size did not show a significant effect. Additional information should be added to the model, as further data become available, to adjust the proposed parameters as well as to try to include the effect of other important aspects such as that of ambient temperature. © 2009 The Animal Consortium.


Averos X.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Averos X.,Agrocampus Ouest | Brossard L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Brossard L.,Agrocampus Ouest | And 7 more authors.
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2010

To quantify the combined effect of housing conditions and environmental enrichment on the behaviour and performance of pigs, a meta-analysis was performed using information from 45 experiments in 42 published manuscripts. Multiple regression models were applied to evaluate the effects of space allowance per pig (k-value; m2/BW0.667), group size (n), floor characteristics (solid, partly, or totally slatted floor), bedding (presence or absence), and the number and presentation sequence of point-source objects (no object, one object, two simultaneous objects, two alternated objects, three or more simultaneous objects or three or more alternated objects) on the general activity, enrichment and object-directed exploratory behaviour, social behaviour, and productive performance. A non-linear relationship between space allowance per pig and time spent sitting and lying was found (P<0.10 and P<0.01 for the k-value and its quadratic term respectively). Total time spent in exploration increased with space allowance per pig when bedding was present (P<0.01), and time spent exploring other pen items decreased with increasing space allowance per pig if no bedding was provided (P<0.001). Total time spent in exploration increased with group size (P<0.001). The lowest predicted total exploration time (least squares mean±standard error) was found in the absence of bedding and point-source objects (13±3%; P<0.05), and the highest when bedding (18±3%) or point-source objects (19±3%) were present. Time exploring point-source objects was higher when different objects were provided (P<0.001). Suspended (P<0.05) and deformable (P<0.05) enrichment items increased the time spent manipulating them. Time spent exploring point-source objects was predicted to be higher in the absence of slats and bedding (32±6%; P<0.05), and lower when bedding (8±9%) or slats (12±4%) were present. Time engaged in negative social behaviours decreased in the presence of point-source objects (P<0.01), and increased with group size in the absence of bedding (P<0.001). Time engaged in positive social behaviours tended to decrease in the presence of point-source objects (P<0.10), and when space allowance per pig increased in the absence of bedding (P<0.10). Slight trends towards lower FCR were predicted when point-source objects (P<0.10) and bedding (P=0.10) were present. This information can be utilised in the determination of the general effects of production systems on the welfare of pigs as well as in the development of new production systems. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Averos X.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Averos X.,Agrocampus Ouest | Averos X.,Tecnalia | Brossard L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 7 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2012

A meta-analysis, using information from 45 experiments on growing-finishing pigs published in 39 manuscripts, was carried out to determine the simultaneous effects of the physical environment (space allowance, group size, flooring conditions, temperature, presence of enrichment), pig traits (initial body weight (BW) for each studied time interval, sex, genetics), feeder characteristics (water provision within the feeder, feeder design (individual/collective), feeder places/pig, presence of feeder protection) and feed characteristics (feed allowance (ad libitum/restricted), net energy content, crude protein (CP) content), as well as their potential interactions, on the feeding behaviour and performance of growing-finishing pigs. The detrimental effect of low temperature on performance was particularly evident for restricted-fed pigs (P < 0.05). At reduced feeder space allowance, a reduction in the percentage of time spent eating was predicted when increasing initial BW, whereas the opposite was predicted for larger feeder space allowances (P < 0.001). The reduction in visit duration to the feeder in higher BW groups became gradually more important with increasing feeder space allowance (P < 0.01), whereas the increase in the ingestion rate and average daily feed intake (ADFI) with increasing initial BW became smaller with increasing feeder space (P < 0.05). The model predicted a reduction in feed conversion ratio (FCR) with increasing group size (P < 0.05) and floor space allowance (P < 0.01) and on solid floors with or without bedding (P < 0.05). In comparison with other feeders, wet/dry feeders were associated with more frequent but shorter feeder visits (P < 0.05), higher ingestion rates (P < 0.001) and higher ADFI (P < 0.10). The use of protection within individual feeders increased the time spent feeding (P < 0.001), reduced the number of visits per day (P < 0.01), the ingestion rate (P < 0.001) and FCR (P < 0.01) in comparison with other feeder types. Sex modulated the effect of the number of feeder places/pig on FCR (P < 0.05), with a gradual reduction of FCR in entire males and females when increasing feeder space allowance. Genetics tended to modulate the effect of dietsâ CP content on FCR (P < 0.10). Overall, these results may contribute to the improvement of the welfare and performance of growing-finishing pigs by a better knowledge of the influence of the rearing environment and may help optimize the feeding strategies in current production systems. © Copyright The Animal Consortium 2012.


MacKay J.R.D.,Scotland’s Rural College | Haskell M.J.,Scotland’s Rural College | Deag J.M.,University of Edinburgh | van Reenen K.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2014

Behavioural tests for cattle take time to perform and can be stressful for the animals but are currently the only way of assessing behavioural reactions to fear-causing stimuli in a standardised manner. It may be possible to use behavioural data collected remotely in the home pen environment through the use of activity monitors and robotic milkers to identify fearful cattle without testing. In this study eighty five dairy cows were given a novel arena novel object (NANO) test and 79 of these were also human approach (HAP) tested, both thought to reflect fear. All animals had their activity recorded for 40 days prior to the testing period using a tri-axial accelerometer activity monitor. High numbers of novel object contacts in the test was associated with younger animals with fewer lying bouts per day and were less variable in their lying bout duration (Radj2=0.13, F3,75=4.65, P=0.005). Cows with a higher tolerance for human approach had fewer lying bouts per day, a shorter average standing bout duration and presented themselves to the robot milker more often (Radj2=0.08, F3,69=3.12, P=0.032). Personality traits constructed from a principle components analysis of the observed NANO behaviours were also associated with home pen activity. Cows which scored highly on the first component termed 'neophobia' were older, had more lying bouts and a greater variation in the duration of their average lying bout (Radj2=0.15, F3,75=5.32, P=0.002) while cows which scored highly on the second component termed 'boldness' were older cows with less variation in their average lying bout duration (Radj2=0.11, F2,75=5.63, P=0.005). To conclude, significant relationships exist between behaviours in short-term personality tests and home pen activity recorded over several weeks. As fearfulness is reflected in spontaneous home pen behaviours, activity databases could be incorporated into models predicting fearfulness and welfare assessment protocols. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hoogenboom R.,RIKILT Institute of Food Safety | Zeilmaker M.,RIVM National Institute of Public Health and the Environment | Eijkeren J.v.,RIVM National Institute of Public Health and the Environment | Kan K.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | And 3 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2010

At the end of 2004, during a routine monitoring project, high levels of PCDDs in milk from two farms were found. Using a bioassay and the congener patterns obtained by HRGC/HRMS, the source was traced back to the use of kaolinic clay for sorting potatoes in a production process of French fries. Rest products, especially peelings after scrubbing, were used as feed for dairy cows. Levels of PCCD/Fs in this product amounted to 44 ng WHO1998-TEQ kg-1 (88% dw). The maximum level observed in milk was 20 pg WHO1998-TEQ g-1 fat. A Physiologically Based PharmacoKinetic (PB-PK) model was used to model three data obtained before eliminating the source in order to estimate the starting time of the contamination of the cows, the steady-state level after prolonged contamination and the kinetics of the decrease in the levels after removal of the source. Samples of milk were continuously collected for several months showing a decrease to levels below the product limit of 3 pg WHO1998-TEQ g-1 fat within 2 months, in excellent agreement with the decrease predicted by the PB-PK model. Different batches of clay were sampled and analysed, showing varying levels of especially PCDDs. All clays were confirmed to be kaolinic clay using X-ray analysis. Other by-products used for animal feed were also contaminated and led to precautionary measures at a few hundred farms, especially pig farms. However, levels in other animal derived products like pig meat did not exceed the product limits. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Delagarde R.,Agrocampus Ouest | Valk H.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Mayne C.S.,Hillsborough Co. | Rook A.J.,Institute of Grassland And Environmental Research | And 4 more authors.
Grass and Forage Science | Year: 2011

GrazeIn is a model for predicting herbage intake and milk production of grazing dairy cows. The objectives of this paper are to test its robustness according to a planned arrangement of grazing and feeding scenarios using a simulation procedure, and to investigate the precision of the predictions from an external validation procedure with independent data. Simulations show that the predicted effects of herbage allowance, herbage mass, herbage digestibility, concentrate supplementation, forage supplementation and daily time at pasture are consistent with current knowledge. The external validation of GrazeIn is investigated from a large dataset of twenty experiments representing 206 grazing herds, from five research centres within Western Europe. On average, mean actual and predicted values are 14·4 and 14·2kgDMd-1 for herbage intake and 22·7 and 24·7kgd-1 for milk production, respectively. The overall precision of the predictions, estimated by the mean prediction error, are 16% (i.e. 2·3kgDMd-1) and 14% (i.e. 3·1kgd-1) for herbage intake and milk production, respectively. It is concluded that the GrazeIn model is able to predict variations in herbage intake and milk production of grazing dairy cows in a realistic manner over a wide range of grazing management practices, rendering it suitable as a basis for decision support systems. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


van Krimpen M.M.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Binnendijk G.P.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Borgsteede F.H.M.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Gaasenbeek C.P.H.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2010

Two experiments were performed to determine the anthelmintic effect of some phytogenic feed additives on a mild infection of Ascaris suum in growing and finishing pigs. Usually, an infection of A. suum is controlled by using conventional synthetic drugs. Organic farmers, however, prefer a non-pharmaceutical approach to worm control. Therefore, phytotherapy could be an appropriate alternative. In the first experiment, a commercial available organic starter diet was supplemented with 3% of a herb mixture, adding 1% Thymus vulgaris, 1% Melissa officinalis and 1% Echinacea purpurea to the diet, or with 4% of a herb mixture, thereby adding the mentioned herbs plus 1% Camellia sinensis (black tea). A negative control group (no treatment) and a positive control group (treatment with conventional synthetic drug flubendazole) were included. In the second experiment, the anthelmintic properties against A. suum of three individual herbs, Carica papaya, Peumus boldus and Artemisia vulgaris, each in a dose of 1%, were tested. Pigs were infected with 1000 infective worm eggs each. Each experiment was performed with 32 individually housed growing pigs (8 replicates/treatment), which were monitored for 67 days. It was hypothesized that the herbs would block the cycles of the larvae, thereby preventing the development of adult worms. Therefore, phytogenic feed additives were not supplied during the whole experimental period, but only from the start until D39. Pigs were inoculated with infective worm eggs during five consecutive days (D17-D21). At D67 all pigs were dissected, whereafter livers were checked for the presence of white spots. Also numbers of worms in the small intestine were counted. In experiment 1, the numbers of worm-infected pigs were similar for both the herb supplemented (groups 3 and 4) and the unsupplemented (group 1) treatments (5-6 pigs of 8), while the treatment with flubendazole (group 2) resulted in 0 infected pigs. In experiment 2, herb addition (groups 2-4) did not significantly reduce the number of worm-infected pigs compared to the negative control (group 1). It can be concluded that the tested herb mixtures and individual herbs in the diets of growing and finishing pigs did not decrease the number of pigs which were infected with A. suum, although the herb mixture without black tea and also boldo leaf slightly (P < 0.10) reduced the number of worms in the intestinal tract. The tested herb mixtures and individual herbs did not affect the performance of the pigs. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Van Der Meulen J.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Koopmans S.J.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Dekker R.A.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR | Hoogendoorn A.,Animal science Group of Wageningen UR
Animal | Year: 2010

This study tested the hypothesis that late weaning and the availability of creep feed during the suckling period compared with early weaning, improves feed intake, decreases stress and improves the integrity of the intestinal tract. In this study with 160 piglets of 16 litters, late weaning at 7 weeks of age was compared with early weaning at 4 weeks, with or without creep feeding during the suckling period, on post-weaning feed intake, plasma cortisol (as an indicator of stress) and plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP; a marker for mild intestinal injury) concentrations, intestinal morphology, intestinal (macro)molecular permeability and intestinal fluid absorption as indicators of small intestinal integrity. Post-weaning feed intake was similar in piglets weaned at 4 weeks and offered creep feed or not, but higher (P < 0.001) in piglets weaned at 7 weeks with a higher (P < 0.05) intake for piglets offered creep feed compared with piglets from whom creep feed was witheld. Plasma cortisol response at the day of weaning was lower in piglets weaned at 7 weeks compared with piglets weaned at 4 weeks, and creep feed did not affect cortisol concentration. Plasma I-FABP concentration was not affected by the age of weaning and creep feeding. Intestinal (macro)molecular permeability was not affected by the age of weaning and creep feeding. Both in uninfected and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-infected small intestinal segments net fluid absorption was not affected by the age of weaning or creep feeding. Creep feeding, but not the age of weaning, resulted in higher villi and increased crypt depth. In conclusion, weaning at 7 weeks of age in combination with creep feeding improves post-weaning feed intake and reduces weaning stress but does not improve functional characteristics of the small intestinal mucosa. Copyright © 2010 The Animal Consortium.


PubMed | Animal science Group of Wageningen UR
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Animal : an international journal of animal bioscience | Year: 2012

This study tested the hypothesis that late weaning and the availability of creep feed during the suckling period compared with early weaning, improves feed intake, decreases stress and improves the integrity of the intestinal tract. In this study with 160 piglets of 16 litters, late weaning at 7 weeks of age was compared with early weaning at 4 weeks, with or without creep feeding during the suckling period, on post-weaning feed intake, plasma cortisol (as an indicator of stress) and plasma intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP; a marker for mild intestinal injury) concentrations, intestinal morphology, intestinal (macro)molecular permeability and intestinal fluid absorption as indicators of small intestinal integrity. Post-weaning feed intake was similar in piglets weaned at 4 weeks and offered creep feed or not, but higher (P < 0.001) in piglets weaned at 7 weeks with a higher (P < 0.05) intake for piglets offered creep feed compared with piglets from whom creep feed was witheld. Plasma cortisol response at the day of weaning was lower in piglets weaned at 7 weeks compared with piglets weaned at 4 weeks, and creep feed did not affect cortisol concentration. Plasma I-FABP concentration was not affected by the age of weaning and creep feeding. Intestinal (macro)molecular permeability was not affected by the age of weaning and creep feeding. Both in uninfected and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-infected small intestinal segments net fluid absorption was not affected by the age of weaning or creep feeding. Creep feeding, but not the age of weaning, resulted in higher villi and increased crypt depth. In conclusion, weaning at 7 weeks of age in combination with creep feeding improves post-weaning feed intake and reduces weaning stress but does not improve functional characteristics of the small intestinal mucosa.

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