Oral/nasal/facial and other behaviors of sows kept individually outdoors on pasture, soil or indoors in gestation crates

Jeffery W. Dailey, John J. McGlone

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35 Scopus citations


The behavior of individually kept PIC Camborough-15 sows was compared when they were housed in three systems; pasture, soil or gestation creates. All sows were fed 2.0 kg of fortified sorghum-soybean diet each day. Crated sows were divided into two groups: those fed meal and those fed pellets. As is common among sows on pasture and soil, outdoor sows were fed pellets. Eight sows per treatment were studied. Observers recorded the occurrences of standing, lying, sitting, feeding, drinking and oral/nasal/facial manipulation of environment using a scan technique every 5 min for 24 h. Oral/nasal/facial behaviors recorded included: chew/bite grass, chew/bite fence/bars, chew rocks/soil and rooting the ground or trough. Sows in each treatment group performed statistically similar frequencies of total oral/nasal/facial behaviors during the 24 h sample period. Pasture-kept sows chewed grass, soil-kept sows chewed rocks and soil, and crated sows chewed the bars. All sows rooted and chewed on the substrate available to them. Frequency, duration and sequential analyses of sow behaviors for an intensive 2 h period starting 30 min post feeding then were investigated. Ten sows per treatment were investigated. Once again, while the precise substrate differed depending on availability, sows on pasture, soil and in gestation crates showed similar overall durations of stereotyped and non-stereotyped oral/nasal/facial behaviors. Sequential analyses showed subtle differences in oral/nasal/facial behavioral sequences. Shows engaged in repeated behavior patterns that provide the greatest stimulation to the oral/nasal/facial region least stimulated by the available substrates within an environment. These stereotyped behaviors may be natural pre- and post-feeding appetitive and consummatory chewing and rooting activities modified in sequences and form by the available substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Anomalous behavior
  • Housing
  • Pig
  • Welfare


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