Genetic and environmental effects on piglet survival and maternal behaviour of the farrowing sow

EM Baxter, S Jarvis, L Sherwood, M Farish, R Roehe, AB Lawrence, SA Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is growing external pressure to abolish the farrowing crate, however alternative farrowing systems need to equal or surpass the performance (i.e. piglet survival) of more restrictive systems. In order to achieve consistent improvement in piglet survival genetic selection strategies targeting specific survival traits could be used. One of the key components of survival in alternative, loose-housed farrowing systems is maternal behaviour and understanding the characteristics of sows that influence survival in such environments should be an essential component when developing new breeding indices. In this study 65 gilts and their piglets (757) from two genetic selection lines, High postnatal Survival (HS) or Control (C), were studied in both indoor loose-housed and outdoor farrowing systems. The influence of genetics and environment on piglet survival and maternal characteristics was studied. Genotype affected total mortality at a piglet level in the outdoor system (C: 17.90% (±3.23) vs. HS: 12.21% (±3.46) W1 = 3.60, P = 0.058), but there was no effect in the indoor loose-housed environment (C: 12.29% (±2.69) vs. HS: 14.86% (±3.18)W1 = 0.07, P = 0.797). Genotype influenced maternal characteristics, with C gilts in both environments being significantly more likely to crush their piglets when changing posture during farrowing( Meandeviance ratio1,62 = 47.25, P = 0.002). High Survival gilts in the indoor environment were aggressive towards their offspring, and were the only genotype to display savaging behaviour (Mean deviance ratio1,62 = 64.90, P < 0.001). This suggests a genetic effect on environmental sensitivity and thus, in order to make effective improvements it is important to estimate genetic parameters (both behavioural and physiological) under the conditions in which the animals will be kept. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28 - 41
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume130
Issue number1-2
Publication statusFirst published - 2011

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maternal behavior
farrowing
sows
piglets
gilts
genotype
farrowing crates
posture
breeding
animals

Bibliographical note

60100037

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Genetic effects
  • Genotype
  • Maternal behaviour
  • Piglet survival

Cite this

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title = "Genetic and environmental effects on piglet survival and maternal behaviour of the farrowing sow",
abstract = "There is growing external pressure to abolish the farrowing crate, however alternative farrowing systems need to equal or surpass the performance (i.e. piglet survival) of more restrictive systems. In order to achieve consistent improvement in piglet survival genetic selection strategies targeting specific survival traits could be used. One of the key components of survival in alternative, loose-housed farrowing systems is maternal behaviour and understanding the characteristics of sows that influence survival in such environments should be an essential component when developing new breeding indices. In this study 65 gilts and their piglets (757) from two genetic selection lines, High postnatal Survival (HS) or Control (C), were studied in both indoor loose-housed and outdoor farrowing systems. The influence of genetics and environment on piglet survival and maternal characteristics was studied. Genotype affected total mortality at a piglet level in the outdoor system (C: 17.90{\%} (±3.23) vs. HS: 12.21{\%} (±3.46) W1 = 3.60, P = 0.058), but there was no effect in the indoor loose-housed environment (C: 12.29{\%} (±2.69) vs. HS: 14.86{\%} (±3.18)W1 = 0.07, P = 0.797). Genotype influenced maternal characteristics, with C gilts in both environments being significantly more likely to crush their piglets when changing posture during farrowing( Meandeviance ratio1,62 = 47.25, P = 0.002). High Survival gilts in the indoor environment were aggressive towards their offspring, and were the only genotype to display savaging behaviour (Mean deviance ratio1,62 = 64.90, P < 0.001). This suggests a genetic effect on environmental sensitivity and thus, in order to make effective improvements it is important to estimate genetic parameters (both behavioural and physiological) under the conditions in which the animals will be kept. {\circledC} 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
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Genetic and environmental effects on piglet survival and maternal behaviour of the farrowing sow. / Baxter, EM; Jarvis, S; Sherwood, L; Farish, M; Roehe, R; Lawrence, AB; Edwards, SA.

In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Vol. 130, No. 1-2, 2011, p. 28 - 41.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Genetic and environmental effects on piglet survival and maternal behaviour of the farrowing sow

AU - Baxter, EM

AU - Jarvis, S

AU - Sherwood, L

AU - Farish, M

AU - Roehe, R

AU - Lawrence, AB

AU - Edwards, SA

N1 - 60100037

PY - 2011

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N2 - There is growing external pressure to abolish the farrowing crate, however alternative farrowing systems need to equal or surpass the performance (i.e. piglet survival) of more restrictive systems. In order to achieve consistent improvement in piglet survival genetic selection strategies targeting specific survival traits could be used. One of the key components of survival in alternative, loose-housed farrowing systems is maternal behaviour and understanding the characteristics of sows that influence survival in such environments should be an essential component when developing new breeding indices. In this study 65 gilts and their piglets (757) from two genetic selection lines, High postnatal Survival (HS) or Control (C), were studied in both indoor loose-housed and outdoor farrowing systems. The influence of genetics and environment on piglet survival and maternal characteristics was studied. Genotype affected total mortality at a piglet level in the outdoor system (C: 17.90% (±3.23) vs. HS: 12.21% (±3.46) W1 = 3.60, P = 0.058), but there was no effect in the indoor loose-housed environment (C: 12.29% (±2.69) vs. HS: 14.86% (±3.18)W1 = 0.07, P = 0.797). Genotype influenced maternal characteristics, with C gilts in both environments being significantly more likely to crush their piglets when changing posture during farrowing( Meandeviance ratio1,62 = 47.25, P = 0.002). High Survival gilts in the indoor environment were aggressive towards their offspring, and were the only genotype to display savaging behaviour (Mean deviance ratio1,62 = 64.90, P < 0.001). This suggests a genetic effect on environmental sensitivity and thus, in order to make effective improvements it is important to estimate genetic parameters (both behavioural and physiological) under the conditions in which the animals will be kept. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - There is growing external pressure to abolish the farrowing crate, however alternative farrowing systems need to equal or surpass the performance (i.e. piglet survival) of more restrictive systems. In order to achieve consistent improvement in piglet survival genetic selection strategies targeting specific survival traits could be used. One of the key components of survival in alternative, loose-housed farrowing systems is maternal behaviour and understanding the characteristics of sows that influence survival in such environments should be an essential component when developing new breeding indices. In this study 65 gilts and their piglets (757) from two genetic selection lines, High postnatal Survival (HS) or Control (C), were studied in both indoor loose-housed and outdoor farrowing systems. The influence of genetics and environment on piglet survival and maternal characteristics was studied. Genotype affected total mortality at a piglet level in the outdoor system (C: 17.90% (±3.23) vs. HS: 12.21% (±3.46) W1 = 3.60, P = 0.058), but there was no effect in the indoor loose-housed environment (C: 12.29% (±2.69) vs. HS: 14.86% (±3.18)W1 = 0.07, P = 0.797). Genotype influenced maternal characteristics, with C gilts in both environments being significantly more likely to crush their piglets when changing posture during farrowing( Meandeviance ratio1,62 = 47.25, P = 0.002). High Survival gilts in the indoor environment were aggressive towards their offspring, and were the only genotype to display savaging behaviour (Mean deviance ratio1,62 = 64.90, P < 0.001). This suggests a genetic effect on environmental sensitivity and thus, in order to make effective improvements it is important to estimate genetic parameters (both behavioural and physiological) under the conditions in which the animals will be kept. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - Environment

KW - Environmental sensitivity

KW - Genetic effects

KW - Genotype

KW - Maternal behaviour

KW - Piglet survival

M3 - Article

VL - 130

SP - 28

EP - 41

JO - Applied Animal Behaviour Science

JF - Applied Animal Behaviour Science

SN - 0168-1591

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ER -