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Contact voltages exposure lower than 0.5V in feeders and drinkers affects the behaviour of piglets

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Abstract

Our study aimed to describe changes in the behaviour of weaned pigs exposed to stray currents of voltage <0.5 V on farm. The study was conducted on a nursery barn with two rooms of 12 pens of 38 28-day old weaned piglets on two batches. In each pen, stray voltages were measured for each drinker and feeder every two weeks (on days 9, 23, 37 and 50). 2 focal pigs per pen were randomly selected, and their behavioural activity was recorded during two 1-h sessions per day, two days a week for 7 weeks (from days 6 to 50) using 5-min scan sampling. Pens were allocated to 4 groups, with high (HV, >125 mV) or low (LV, <125 mV) voltage in drinkers and high (HV, >50 mV) and low (LV, <50 mV) voltage in feeders. Behaviours were averaged per pen and effects of voltage levels in drinkers, feeders, and their interactions were analysed using mixed linear models with pen and replicate as random effects. At 6 days postweaning, pigs exposed to HV in drinkers spent more time manipulating pen mates (P=0.02) and less time sleeping (P=0.02) than pigs exposed to LV in drinkers. During the following weeks (from 2 to 7 weeks post-weaning), pigs exposed to HV in drinkers spent more time manipulating pen mates (P=0.003) than piglets exposed to LV. Piglets exposed to HV in feeders spent less time sleeping (P=0.02) and more time nosing pen mates while lying (P=0.04) and aggressing pen mates (P=0.008) than piglets exposed to LV. Significant interaction effects suggest that animals exposed to HV in drinkers spent more of their inactive time lying (P<0.001) and less standing (P=0.002), and spent more time exploring objects (P=0.05) and the floor while lying (P=0.004), but that these effects were highly influenced by voltage in feeders. Our results suggest that stray voltages in housing affect behaviour of pigs, with an increase in harmful social behaviours, and may be detrimental for pig welfare. Although further experiments should be considered to confirm our findings, this study is the first to highlight behavioural changes linked with stray voltage lower than 0.5 V in pigs.
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Dates and versions

hal-03775823 , version 1 (13-09-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03775823 , version 1

Cite

Théo Nicolazo, Caroline Clouard, Gwenaël Boulbria, Elodie Merlot, Arnaud Lebret, et al.. Contact voltages exposure lower than 0.5V in feeders and drinkers affects the behaviour of piglets. 73. Annual meeting of the european federation of animal science (EAAP), Sep 2022, Porto, Portugal. pp.293. ⟨hal-03775823⟩

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