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Review: Early life predisposing factors for biting in pigs

Prunier, A.; Averos, X.; Dimitrov, I.; Edwards, S.A.; Hillmann, E.; Holinger, M.; Ilieski, V.; Leming, R.; Tallet, C.; Turner, S.P.; Zupan, M. and Camerlink, I. (2020) Review: Early life predisposing factors for biting in pigs. Animal, 14 (3), pp. 570-587.

[thumbnail of (published online 2019)] PDF - Published Version - English ((published online 2019))
[thumbnail of Printversion 2020] PDF - Published Version - English (Printversion 2020)

Document available online at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/animal/article/review-early-life-predisposing-factors-for-biting-in-pigs/1C31297E22FF9D67B76D6779D851ADBE#


The pig industry faces many animal welfare issues. Among these, biting behaviour has a high incidence. It is indicative of an existing problem in biters and is a source of physical damage and psychological stress for the victims. We categorize this behaviour into aggressive and non-aggressive biting, the latter often being directed towards the tail. This review focusses specifically on predisposing factors in early life, comprising the prenatal and postnatal periods up to weaning, for the expression of aggressive and non-aggressive biting later in life. The influence of personality and coping style has been examined in a few studies. It varies according to these studies and, thus, further evaluation is needed. Regarding the effect of environmental factors, the number of scientific papers is low (less than five papers for most factors). No clear influence of prenatal factors has been identified to date. Aggressive biting is reduced by undernutrition, cross-fostering and socialization before weaning. Non-aggressive biting is increased by undernutrition, social stress due to competition and cross-fostering. These latter three factors are highly dependent on litter size at birth. The use of familiar odours may contribute to reducing biting when pigs are moved from one environment to another by alleviating the level of stress associated with novelty. Even though the current environment in which pigs are expressing biting behaviours is of major importance, the pre-weaning environment should be optimized to reduce the likelihood of this problem.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:pigs, biting, animal health, animal bevaviour, stress, undernutrition
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Pigs
Research affiliation:Austria > Univ. VMU Wien > Animal husbandry / welfare
Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal health
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Pigs
Germany > University of Berlin - HU
Spain > NEIKER (Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario)
France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
UK > Scottish Rural Colleges (SRUC - previously SAC)
UK > Univ. Newcastle
Deposited By: Holinger, Dr. sc ETH Mirjam
ID Code:37183
Deposited On:31 Jan 2020 12:03
Last Modified:22 Jul 2021 12:36
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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