Onderwerp scriptie

The effect of temperature and activity patterns on lying behaviour and space use in conventional housed fattening pigs. An Agent-Based Approach - Melanie Dekker

Pigs can adapt to changing temperatures by changing lying time, lying location, huddling and lying posture. The aim of this study was to gain more insight in the effect of ambient temperature and activity patterns of pigs on space use and finding preferred lying places in a pen.

Lying behaviour is an important thermoregulatory behaviour in pigs. Pigs can adapt to changing temperatures by changing lying time, lying location, huddling and lying posture. Activity patterns of pigs, with one or two activity peaks, are expected to influence these lying behaviours and thereby space requirements of conventionally housed fattening pigs. The aim of this study was to gain more insight in the effect of ambient temperature and activity patterns of pigs on space use and finding preferred lying places in a pen. A literature study was performed to identify the key factors affecting the four aspects of lying behaviour (lying time, location, posture and huddling), the relation between lying behaviour and space use, and the effect of ambient temperature and activity patterns of pigs. Based on this information an Agent-Based Model on lying behaviour and space use of pigs during 24 h was developed. This model represented a conventional pig housing pen with 10 fattening pigs. The effect of different temperatures within the thermoneutral zone: in the cold zone (10 ˚C), the comfort zone (18 ˚C, 19 ˚C and 20 ˚C) and in the warm zone (30 ˚C) on lying behaviour and space use was tested. Additionally, the effect of activity patterns with one and two activity peaks was tested. Model results show that increasing temperature, increased floor occupation and increased the difficulty for pigs to find a preferred lying place. The amount of activity peaks had no effect on floor occupation. The amount of pigs that had difficulties with finding a lying place in the preferred area near the wall, however, differed for the two types of activity peaks. Pigs with one activity peak had more often difficulties with finding a lying place in the preferred area. Increasing temperature also causes more difficulties with finding a preferred lying place. These results indicate that activity patterns of pigs can be an important factor affecting space requirements of pigs, especially at higher temperatures.

Student: MJD Dekker

Supervisor: ing I Boumans, MSc

36 Ects