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Effect of sudden noises on gestating sows’ behaviour


Previous results on fattening pigs have shown that noise induced behavioural changes and an increase in stress hormone levels. Based on EU Directive (2008), a threshold of 85 dB is required for pig farming in the EU and sudden noises should be avoided. The aim of this study is to determine if sudden noises below 85 dB affect gestating sows’ behaviour. The experiment involved a random sample of 11 group-housed gestating sows observed from 13.00 to 18.00 (PM, resting period) and from 23.00 to 0.00 (night, feeding period), of two different days (basal vs test). During test day, for each period studied, various short noises (on average 27 s) below 85 dB were emitted during 4 hours every 10 min. There was no noise emission during the basal day. Individual behaviour was analysed manually via video recording to identify continuously the sow’s location in the room (5 areas), its posture (sitting, lying, standing, walking), and its occupation (sleeping, investigating, eating, observing). The influence of the day (basal vs test) and the period (PM vs night) on the time spent for each behaviour was analysed on R applying a linear mixed-effects model taking into account the random effect of the sows. The number of changes of area, posture or occupation was compared between the days and periods with a student t-test. The time spent in different areas and the number of changes of areas were not affected by the day, only by the period. Sows spent more time sitting and less time standing during test day compared to basal day (P=0.04). During PM, the number of changes of posture increased during test day compared to basal day (26 vs 15 changes, P=0.02). The time spent investigating decreased during test day compared to basal day (-20 min during PM and night), while observation time increased (+16 min during PM and night). The number of changes of occupation was not affected by the day but was higher during the night compared to PM. To conclude, emissions of sudden short noises below 85 dB can affect gestating sows’ posture and occupation, which might further impact their nutrient requirements. More investigation should be done to quantify this potential effect.
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Dates and versions

hal-03412849 , version 1 (03-11-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03412849 , version 1


Charlotte Gaillard, Maëva Durand. Effect of sudden noises on gestating sows’ behaviour. 72. Annual meeting of the european federation of animal science (EAAP), EAAP, Aug 2021, Davos, Switzerland. pp.534. ⟨hal-03412849⟩
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