Synthetic maternal pheromone stimulates feeding behavior and weight gain in weaned pigs

J. J. McGlone, D. L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

One hundred and forty-four pigs were used to determine the effects of a putative synthetic maternal pheromone on behavior and performance of weanling pigs. Each pen of weaned pigs contained three pigs that were given free access to water and feed. Pigs were videotaped in time lapse for 48 h after weaning and weekly body weights and feed disappearances were recorded for 4 wk. Treatments included: a) control (vehicle applied), b) 30 mL of synthetic pheromone applied to the feeder, or c) 10 mL of synthetic pheromone applied to each of three pigs' snouts: Pigs exposed to the synthetic pheromone spent more (P < 0.05) time with their heads in the feeder and less (P < 0.05) time drinking, lying down, or engaged in agonistic behaviors than control pigs. Pigs exposed to the synthetic pheromone were more (P < 0.05) active during the 48-h period of video taping than control pigs. Pigs exposed to the synthetic pheromone (either on the feeder or their snout) had increased (P < 0.01) average daily gain (ADG) and better (P < 0.01) feed:gain ratio than control pigs over the 28-d postweaning period. In conclusion, the putative synthetic pheromone, applied once at weaning, stimulated apparent feeding behaviors, and reduced fighting and apparent drinking behaviors during the first 48 h after weaning. ADG and feed:gain ratio were improved by application of the putative synthetic pheromone either directly on the feeder or when painted on the pigs' snouts. Olfactory signals can modulate adaptation to the postweaning environment in ways that may improve pig performance and welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3179-3183
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of animal science
Volume80
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Pheromones
  • Pigs

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