, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 53-62

Maternal behaviour of free-ranging sows during the first 8 days after farrowing

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Abstract

The maternal behaviour of free-ranging domestic sows was studied. The sows were observed continuously during 1–2 h periods randomly distributed between 0730 and 1930, from farrowing to the 8th day. The behaviour parameters considered and the general experimental layout were the same as ones used in a previous study. In order to more precisely evaluate possible differences of behaviour between the outdoor and the indoor condition, this new study did not reveal great differences in maternal behaviour. Over time, the sows increased initiation and termination of nursing episodes, with no statistical difference between the sows' behaviour. There was a trend to reduce the variability of the behaviour repertoire over post-farrowing days. This may be the result of the sows' freedom of action and their ability to display the natural behaviours. The implications of environmental conditions on behaviour are discussed.