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Browsing by Author "Nurminen, Reeta"

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  • Nurminen, Reeta (2023)
    The aim of this study was to examine the impact of intermittent suckling on the nursing behavior of sows in group-housing facilities. This study included 33 sows that had been divided into ten subgroups. There were 3-5 sows per pen. Intermittent suckling started when piglets were four weeks old and lasted for seven days. Sows were filmed with cameras that had been placed in pens for three consecutive weeks: a week before intermittent suckling was started, during intermittent suckling and a week after intermittent suckling was discontinued. During intermittent suckling sows were kept away from piglets for eight hours daily. Video material was observed by one person and evaluation and data collection was based on pre-described ethogram. Nursing behavior was evaluated for four days: 1. 24 hours before starting intermittent suckling, 2. 24 hours after starting intermittent suckling, 3. 24 hours before the end of intermittent suckling and 4. 24 hours after the end of intermittent suckling. Final data was collected from 30 sows from nine subgroups. Data was analyzed using SPSS-program. Hypothesis was 1. the amount of nursings decrease during intermittent suckling, 2. the frequency of nursings increase shortly after sows return to piglets during intermittent suckling, 3. the amount of sow-terminated sucklings decrease during intermittent suckling. We found that intermittent suckling affected nursing behavior. The overall amount of nursing decreased during intermittent suckling, the frequency of nursing increased when sows returned back to piglets after intermittent suckling and the amount of nursings ended by sow decreased during intermittent suckling. Results were in conclusion with the hypothesis. This study shows that intermittent suckling has an effect on the nursing behavior of sows. This study doesn’t conclude whether intermittent suckling has an effect on the welfare of sows and piglets.