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Hannover, Germany

Kern G.,University of Kiel | Traulsen I.,University of Kiel | Stamer E.,TiDa Tier und Daten GmbH | Kemper N.,Institute For Tierhygiene | Krieter J.,University of Kiel
Zuchtungskunde | Year: 2014

Aim of this investigation was to determine risk factors influencing longevity and animal healt in sheep. Therefore, records of 15,967 ewes were used for survival analysis, 1,228 milk-samples and 635 faecal samples were collected and additionally an assessment of animal health and body-condition (BCS) of 6,093 ewes housed on 20 organic farms was performed in the years 2010 and 2011. Blackheaded Mutton breed showed the lowest risk ratio (HR) with 0.77, while Texel had the highest hazard rate (HR = 1.00). The relative culling risk initially decreased from the first to the seventh lambing, and increased afterwards. The primary purpose was influencing the milk gross composition and the risk of being infected with endoparasites significantly. Sheep in extensive primary purpose showed the lowest somatic-cell-score (SCS = 3.14), whereas the ewes of the primary purpose meat had the highest SCS (4.83) and also the highest risk of having a positive indication of bacteria isolates in milk (OR = 1.00). Additionally, the risk of being infected with gastrointestinal nematodes was highest in meat sheep (OR = 2.60) compared ewes in extensive (1.00) and dairy (1.07) primary purpose. The OR of being infected with Eimeria spp. was more than two times higher in dairy sheep systems than in extensively kept sheep. The primary purpose was influencing the BCS and the assessed animal health status significantly, too. The results provide the basis for the development of an easy and compact management information system which optimises the overview of the herd and contributes an adequate animal health and increasing longevity. © Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Springorum A.C.,Institute For Tierhygiene
Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift | Year: 2013

This article gives a review about the history of animal hygiene from its beginning thousands of years ago until the present time. Presumably primarily developed from a basic food hygiene it always found its way into religious and cultural traditions of the different ages all over the world, whereupon animal and public hygiene have always been closely related. Additionally animal hygiene contributed noticeably to the development of the veterinary system.

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.

Fels M.,Institute For Tierhygiene | Sonoda L.T.,Institute For Tierhygiene | Rauterberg S.,Institute For Tierhygiene | Hartung J.,Institute For Tierhygiene | Kemper N.,Institute For Tierhygiene
Praktische Tierarzt | Year: 2014

Regardless of age, mixing of pigs requires the establishment of a social hierarchy determined by aggressive interactions. The common method to sort piglets after weaning by weight and to mix them to new groups can lead to violent rank order fighting followed by injuries, general stress and reduced weight gain. Therefore, an optimal management is essential in this sensitive period. That raises, among others, the question of the right grouping strategy. However, in our own investigations, the influence of grouping strategy was limited. During an observation period of 72 hours, there were no differences in the number of aggressive interactions or in the lesion score between homogeneous and heterogeneous weight groups, between a combination of piglets from two or six origin litters, or between single sex groups related to a group size of twelve piglets. Only a comparison between groups of 6, 12, and 24 piglets revealed less aggressive interactions in groups of 6. Known measures to reduce aggressive behaviour after mixing usually lead only to a postponement of aggressive behaviour. Therefore, the objective of a further study was to develop a completely new approach to control aggressive interactions in weaned piglets. The system is based on the use of an electronic feeder giving tasty food after a special sound. The animals are trained as suckling piglets to react to that sound, and the learned behavioural responses can be used to interrupt undesired aggressive interactions. The results show that the behaviour of piglets after weaning can be influenced using the electronic feeder. From all aggressive interactions between two previously trained piglets in a resident-intruder test, 84 % could be stopped by activating the electronic feeder. Piglets were effectively distracted from aggressive behaviour by activation of the feeder. Thus, a behavioural response learned by suckling piglets could be used to reduce aggressive behaviour in later production stages and to enhance animal welfare.

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