Nursery pig behavior evaluation pre- and post injection using digital-image methodology

Campus Units

Animal Science, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

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Journal of Swine Health and Production





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Objectives: To determine if nursery pigs display different behaviors and postures pre- and post injection during the human-approach paradigm using a digital photographic image.

Materials and methods: A digital camera captured an image of nursery pigs in a pen during a human-approach paradigm at two time points, pre- and post injection, with three different treatments. A total of 149 pens containing crossbred, mixed-sexed nursery pigs 42 days of age were used. Each pen of pigs was randomly assigned to one of three injection treatments: Vaccine A (saline administered on day 28 and Vaccine A on day 43); Vaccine B (vaccine administered days 28 and 43); and saline (VSAL; saline administered on days 28 and 43). All pigs were classified as Touched, Oriented, or Not Oriented. Pigs classified as Not-Oriented were further delineated into four postures and two behaviors. Within behavioral categories, snout and tail-base distances from the human were measured.

Results: There were no pre-injection pen behavioral differences. Fewer Vaccine B-treated pens were classified as Touched compared to Vaccine A- and VSAL-treated pens. Regardless of treatment, more pigs were Not Oriented post injection than pre-injection. Fewer Vaccine B-treated pigs stood than did other treatments. Vaccine B-treated pigs had the greatest snout and tail-base distances from the human.

Implication: It is important to establish the age of the nursery pigs and the vaccine with which they are treated when conducting an on-farm assessment using a human-approach paradigm.


This is an article from Weimer, Shawna L., Thomas J. Fangman, Locke A. Karriker, Kenneth J. Stalder, and Anna K. Johnson. "Nursery pig behavior evaluation pre-and post injection using digital-image methodology." Journal of Swine Health and Production 26, no. 1 (2018): 25-33. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

American Association of Swine Veterinarians



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