Panningen, Netherlands
Panningen, Netherlands

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Oczak M.,Fancom Research | Ismailova G.,Safety Technologies | Sonoda L.T.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Fels M.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of the International Workshop on Veterinary Biosignals and Biodevices, VBB 2012, in Conjunction with BIOSTEC 2012 | Year: 2012

Aggressive behaviour among pigs results in negative consequences, reducing health and welfare of animals as well as production output of a farm. In order to develop an automatic monitoring system that monitors and controls pig aggression, an experiment was carried out. The aim of the experiment was to analyze sequences in pig aggressive behaviour. 52 aggressive sequences were observed during the experiment in on farm observations. Behaviour that started the aggressive sequences the most often was nose to nose interaction. 22 out of 52 aggressive sequences started with this behaviour. Head to head knocking was classified as a second most frequent starting behaviour with 13 head to head knocks starting aggressive interactions. Nose to nose interaction and head to head knocking behaviours in most cases started aggressive interactions between animals. Automatic detection of these behaviours might allow early detection of aggression among pigs.


The aim of our study was to analyze a new method of cognitive enrichment for suckling piglets and related opportunities to reduce aggressive behaviour after weaning. In the first part of our experiment, 10 complete litters with a total of 95 suckling piglets were trained from an age of 25 days to react on an electronic feeder. The piglets learned the link between a sound given by the electronic feeder and a feed reward in form of chocolate candies. There were 8 training sessions during 10 days showing an apparent learning success at the third day with 74,3% of the piglets standing close to the feeder 15 seconds after its activation. The second part of experiment was aimed to study the possibility to interrupt aggressive behaviour between 2 piglets after weaning using the behaviour learned in the farrowing pen. Therefore, 390 resident-intruder confrontations were studied. In 83,6% of cases, aggressive interaction could be stopped by the activation of the feeder and the related reaction of the piglets. In 90% of cases, only one piglet reacted first so that fighting stopped. In 59% of all stopped fights, the aggressor reacted to the feeder activation whereas the receiver reacted in 51% alone or together with the aggressor. Thus, the feeder could effectively distract the animals from aggressive behaviour. We conclude that a sound signal combined with an electronic feeder is suitable as cognitive enrichment for suckling piglets as well as to stop aggressive fights in a resident-intruder test. Hence, cognitive enrichment can be used for pigs in young age and may be useful in later production stages to reduce aggression and enhance animal welfare. © Verlage Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.


Sonoda L.T.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Fels M.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Rauterberg S.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Oczak M.,Fancom Research | And 8 more authors.
Precision Livestock Farming 2013 - Papers Presented at the 6th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2013 | Year: 2013

It is known that unacquainted pigs will fight to establish a social hierarchy after mixing. However, vigorous fighting can cause economic losses and welfare problems. Limitation of resources can aggravate the problem. For this reason, environmental enrichment is recommended on pig farms. In our study, we first trained piglets in their farrowing pens to react to the activation of an electronic feeder and after mixing, the potential of the electronic feeding system to reduce aggressive behaviour was studied using confrontations tests. The electronic feeding system had the potential to be used as environmental enrichment being able to reduce aggressive interactions after mixing.


Oczak M.,Fancom Research | Oczak M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Ismayilova G.,University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences | Costa A.,University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences | And 9 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2013

Aggression among pigs in today's production systems results in negative impact on health and welfare of animals as well as on productivity of the systems. Precision Livestock Farming technology might potentially offer a possibility to monitor and reduce the level of aggression and hence its negative impact. This paper reports about the initial part of a larger study investigating the possibilities of applying continuous automatic monitoring of aggressive behaviour among pigs. It investigates how behavioural patterns in pig's aggressive behaviour can be identified and utilized in order to predict severe forms of aggression (biting) expressed in later phases of aggressive interactions.An experiment was carried out at a commercial farm on a group of 11 male pigs weighing on average 23. kg and kept in a pen of 4. m. ×. 2.5. m. During the first 3. days after mixing in total 8. h of video recording were registered with a top view camera for later analysis of animal behaviour. As a result of labelling of the video recordings, 157 aggressive interactions were identified with 12 behaviour types expressed for 860 times within the interactions. The identified interactions were divided into interactions that led to biting and those that did not lead to biting behaviour. The interactions that led to biting behaviour accounted for 36.3% (57) of all aggressive interactions while interactions that did not lead to biting behaviour were 63.7% (100) of the interactions. The average duration of initiating (nosing) phase of aggressive interactions (3.32. s) lasted longer (P<. 0.05) in interactions that led to biting behaviour than in interactions that did not lead to biting behaviour (1.94. s). The next phase of aggressive interactions - medium phase - similarly to initiating phase, lasted on average longer (18.21. s) (P<. 0.01) in interactions that led to biting behaviour than in interactions that did not lead to biting behaviour (16.15. s). With the differences found between interactions that led and did not lead to biting behaviour it seems to be possible to discriminate between both types of interactions in an early phase of aggression. The differences found might serve as early signs in a management support system that aims to prevent severe forms of aggressive behaviour (biting) among pigs. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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