Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2470



Summary and Implications

This study evaluated the effect of experience and social companionship on the degree of fearfulness in pigs during a human approach test. Experience had no significant effect on fearfulness of pigs while social companionship significantly decreased number of vocalizations (156 (unpaired) vs. 54 sec (paired) P < 0.05), latency to enter within 1 meter (97 (unpaired) vs. 50 sec (paired) P <0.05), and 0.5 meter (133 (unpaired) vs. 70 sec (paired) P < 0.05), as well as significantly increased number of contact bouts (5.7 (unpaired) vs. 7.75 (paired) P < 0.05). These results suggest that experience with a novel environment and novel human will not necessarily decrease fear, but the social environment does play a large role in decreasing fearfulness in pigs. Producers can use the human approach test to evaluate levels of fear and implement positive management strategies to decrease fearfulness in the herd.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University