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Exploration of early social behaviors and social styles in relation to individual characteristics in suckling piglets

Abstract : Social behavior is a key component of pig welfare on farms, but little is known on the development of social behaviors in piglets. This study aimed to explore social behaviors and identify early social styles in suckling piglets. Social behaviors of 68 piglets from 12 litters were scored continuously for 8 h per day at 21 and 42 days of age, and were included in a Hierarchical Clustering on Principal Components analysis to identify clusters of pigs with similar social styles. Social nosing represented 78% of all social interactions given. Three social styles were identified: low-solicited inactive animals (inactive), active animals (active), and highly-solicited avoiders (avoiders). Belonging to a cluster was independent of age, but was influenced by sex, with females being more represented in the 'inactive' cluster, and males in the 'active' cluster, whereas both sexes were equally represented in the 'avoider' cluster. Stability of piglets' allocation to specific clusters over age was high in the 'inactive' (59%) and 'active' (65%) clusters, but low in the 'avoider' cluster (7%). Haptoglobin and growth rate were higher in 'active' than 'inactive' pigs, and intermediate in 'avoiders'. Our findings suggest the existence of transient social styles in piglets, likely reflective of sexual dimorphism or health status.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03573467
Contributor : Caroline Clouard Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, February 14, 2022 - 5:02:44 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 3:36:52 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 7:32:32 PM

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Caroline Clouard, Rémi Resmond, Armelle Prunier, Céline Tallet, Elodie Merlot. Exploration of early social behaviors and social styles in relation to individual characteristics in suckling piglets. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2022, 12 (1), pp.2318. ⟨10.1038/s41598-022-06354-w⟩. ⟨hal-03573467⟩

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