Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2342



Summary and Implications

Behavioral observations are a type of “assay” that is used to quantify animal biological responses. As with physiological measurements, methods of behavioral observation should be validated and selected based on the objectives of the particular study. The objective of this study was to validate the accuracy of scan samples at various predetermined intervals for confined nursery pigs. Twenty, 35 day old, crossbred PIC (USA) nursery pigs were housed in five pens within a confinement building. Eight scan sample treatments (1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes) were individually compared to continuous observation. Scan sample was defined as the first second for each scan interval (1 minute scan sample intervals provided 60 selected scans of one second duration per pig per hour). The percentage of the total time observed for each behavior and posture then calculated for each pen. Drinking differed (P = 0.0019) from the continuous data at intervals greater than 5 minutes or more. For all other behaviors and postures there were no (P > 0.05) differences between scan treatments and the continuous data. In conclusion, scan samples under these experimental conditions were accurate for all behaviors and postures except drinking.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University