Effects of heat and social stressors and within-pen weight variation on young pig performance and agonistic behavior.

J. J. McGlone, W. F. Stansbury, L. F. Tribble

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7 Scopus citations


A total of 486 crossbred weanling pigs was used in a series of experiments to determine first the effects of heat and social stress and their interaction on pig performance and, second, to determine a possible cause for the observed effects. Pigs were held six/nursery pen and fed and watered ad libitum. In Exp. 1, pigs were held at either thermal neutral 26.6 C for the 21 d and 23.8 C for the final 7 d, or at the heat-stress temperature (32.2 C) for the entire 28-d period. Within each temperature treatment, one-half of the pigs were left as single-litter controls and one-half were randomly regrouped (social stress). Pig feed intake and weight gain were reduced (P less than .05) among heat-stress pigs during the 7- to 28-d and 0- to 28-d periods. The interaction between social and thermal stress was significant for gain:feed ratio for the 7- to 28- and 0- to 28-d periods. Regrouping depressed gain:feed ratio only among heat-stressed pigs. In Exp. 2, a two-pig behavioral bioassay was used to determine if agonistic behaviors were influenced by heat stress. Pigs that were regrouped into 32.2 C rooms exhibited reduced mean level (P less than .05) and variation (P less than .001) of submissive behavior. Duration of aggressive behavior and latency to attack were unaffected by thermal treatments. Increased social stress at the time of regrouping could not account for poor performance of heat-stressed, regrouped pigs.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-462
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1987


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