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Maternal behaviour, infanticide and welfare in enclosed European wild boars (Sus scrofa)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2010 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

European wild boars (Sus scrofa) are kept in Swedish enclosures for hunting and meat production purposes. The sows are known to undergo behavioural changes in connection with farrowing and their natural behaviours may be compromised by the limited area of the enclosure. The general aim of this thesis was to provide detailed quantitative data on wild boar sows when farrowing in captivity and to report whether possible needs can be compromised by the limitations of an enclosure. Specifically, it was aimed to provide a quantitative and functional account of the occurrence of infanticide, and its possible relations to welfare of confined wild boars.

A field study was carried out in a hunting enclosure, where 1200 hours of behavioural recordings and data from 22 farrowings were collected. The farrowing period could be divided into three phases: pre-farrowing, isolation and sociality phases (in relation to farrowing: day -14 to -1, day 1 to 8, day 9 to 14 respectively). The activity decreased during isolation and increased in the sociality phase. The average distance to other individuals increased during isolation and decreased in the sociality phase. Habitat use changed towards more protective habitats after farrowing (Paper I).

Non-maternal infanticide was documented in 14 out of 22 litters. Infanticide, typically performed by an older and larger sow than the mother, caused the deaths of all neonates in all but one affected litters. We found no effect of relatedness. A questionnaire sent to 112 owners of enclosures in Sweden and Finland resulted in 62 responses. Although the owners were often not able to provide exact figures on reproduction and mortality, nonmaternal infanticide was reported to be the most common cause of piglet mortality. The occurrence of infanticide was unrelated to size of enclosure and to variations in husbandry routines. All together results may suggest that non-maternal infanticide is part of the normal behavioural repertoire in wild boars (Paper II).

The studies of this thesis reveals the farrowing period as the most dynamic and perhaps most challenging for wild boar sows in enclosures. There are serious welfare concerns in the husbandry of wild boars in Swedish enclosures. The most obvious welfare problem is non-maternal infanticide, where both sows and piglets are assumed to suffer, and where the outcome from the action must be considered unacceptable. If wild boar husbandry shall be equated with other animal husbandry in our society, it needs to be regulated to overcome many of the presented potential welfare problems in this thesis.

Abstract [sv]

Europeiskt vildsvin (Sus scrofa) hålls i svenska hägn för jakt och köttproduktion. I samband med grisning genomgår suggan beteendeförändringar och där kan suggans naturliga beteenden tänkas hindras av de begränsningar som hägnet utgör. Det övergripande syftet med den här avhandlingen var att redovisa detaljerade kvantitativa uppgifter om vildsvinsuggors grisning i ett jakthägn, samt att rapportera om möjliga behov hos suggan äventyras på grund av begränsningarna av ett hägn. Särskilt syftar avhandlingen till att ge en kvantitativ och funktionell beskrivning av förekomsten av infanticid (kultingdödlighet orsakad av artfrände) och dess eventuella påverkan på hägnade vildsvins välfärd.

En fältstudie genomfördes i ett jakthägn, där 1200 timmar beteendeobservationer och data från 22 grisningar samlades in. Grisningsperioden kunde delas in i tre faser: grisnings-, isolerings- och sociala fasen (i relation till grisningsdagen: dag -14 till -1, dag 1 till 8, respektive dag 9 till 14). Aktiviteten minskade under isoleringsfasen och ökade i sociala fasen. Det genomsnittliga avståndet till andra individer ökade under isoleringsfasen och minskade i sociala fasen. Habitatutnyttjandet förändrades mot mer skyddande habitat efter grisningen (Paper I).

I 14 av 22 kullar observerades icke-maternell infanticid. Infanticiden utfördes vanligtvis av en äldre och större sugga än modern, och var orsaken till att alla kultingar dog i alla utom en av berörda kullar. Det fanns ingen släktskapseffekt på infanticiden. En enkät som skickades till 112 hägnägare i Sverige och Finland resulterade i 62 svar. Trots att ägarna ofta inte kunde ge exakta siffror på reproduktion och dödlighet så rapporterades icke-maternell infanticid som den vanligaste orsaken till kultingdödlighet. Förekomsten av infanticid saknade samband med storlek på hägn och variationer i rutiner för djurhållningen. Resultaten tyder på att icke-maternell infanticid är en del av den normala beteenderepertoaren hos vildsvin (Paper II).

Studierna i denna avhandling visar att grisningsperioden kan vara den mest dynamiska och kanske svåraste för vildsvinsuggor i hägn. Det finns allvarliga djurskyddsproblem i djurhållningen av vildsvin i svenska hägn. Det mest uppenbara välfärdsproblemet är icke-maternell infanticid, där både suggor och kultingar antas lida, och där resultatet av beteendet måste anses oacceptabelt. Om vildsvinshållning skall likställas med annan djurhållning i vårt samhälle, behöver den regleras för att övervinna många av de potentiella djurskyddsproblem som påvisas i denna avhandling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2010. , 30 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1439
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57985Local ID: LiU-Tek-Lic-2010:10ISBN: 978-91-7393-376-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-57985DiVA: diva2:329818
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-07-13 Created: 2010-07-13 Last updated: 2010-07-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Behaviour of European wild boars (Sus scrofa) in connection with farrowing in an enclosure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behaviour of European wild boars (Sus scrofa) in connection with farrowing in an enclosure
2011 (English)In: Mammalian Biology, ISSN 1616-5047, E-ISSN 1618-1476, Vol. 76, no 3, 332-338 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Wild boars (Sus scrofa) are often kept in enclosures for hunting or meat production purposes in Sweden. The sows are known to undergo behavioural changes in connection with farrowing and their natural behaviours may be compromised by the limited area of the enclosure. The aim of this study was to quantitatively describe wild boar sows’ behaviour when farrowing in an enclosure. A field study was carried out in a hunting enclosure, where 1200 hours of behavioural recordings and data from 22 farrowings were collected. According to the results, the farrowing period could be divided into 3 phases: pre-farrowing, isolation and sociality phases (in relation to farrowing: day -14 to -1, day 1 to 8, day 9 to 14 respectively). The activity decreased during isolation and increased in the sociality phase (p<0.05), whereas the average distance to other individuals increased during isolation and decreased in the sociality phase (p<0.05). Nose contacts with other individuals increased in the isolation phase (p<0.05) and habitat use changed towards more protective habitats after farrowing. 68 % of the nests were situated in edges between two habitats of different vegetation density and 73% had some kind of protection to the north. We conclude that farrowing induces a number of changes in the activity, social behaviour and habitat preference in captive European wild boars. This may need attention when enclosures for this species are designed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
Keyword
Wild boar; behaviour; farrowing; enclosure
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57983 (URN)10.1016/j.mambio.2011.01.010 (DOI)000291118200014 ()
Note
Original Publication: Annelie Andersson, Riikka Äänismaa, Jenni Huusko and Per Jensen, Behaviour of European wild boars (Sus scrofa) in connection with farrowing in an enclosure, 2011, Mammalian Biology, (76), 3, 332-338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2011.01.010 Copyright: Elsevier Science B.V. Amsterdam http://www.elsevier.com/ Available from: 2010-07-13 Created: 2010-07-13 Last updated: 2017-12-12
2. Extensive infanticide in enclosed European wild boars (Sus scrofa)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Extensive infanticide in enclosed European wild boars (Sus scrofa)
2011 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 134, no 3, 184-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Infanticidal behaviour is wide-spread among animals of various taxonomic groups, but has not previously been reported in European wild boars, which are commonly kept in enclosures in Sweden and Finland for meat and recreation purposes. We studied the behaviour of wild boars in one enclosure during three reproductive seasons. Non-maternal infanticide was documented in 14 out of 22 litters, causing the deaths of all piglets in all but one affected litters. Infanticide was typically performed during or shortly after parturition by a sow which was older and larger than the victimised sow, and we found no effect of relatedness. A questionnaire sent to 112 owners of enclosures in Sweden and Finland resulted in 62 responses. Although the owners were often not able to provide exact figures on reproduction and mortality, non-maternal infanticide was reported to be the most common cause of piglet mortality, which in total was estimated to 29.1%. The occurrence of infanticide was unrelated to size of enclosure and to variations in husbandry routines, which all together may suggest that the behaviour is part of the normal behavioural repertoire in European wild boars. The observed levels of infanticide constitute a major welfare problem in captive wild boars.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
Keyword
Behaviour; enclosure; farrowing; infanticide; Sus scrofa; wild boar
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57984 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2011.08.001 (DOI)000296114100013 ()
Note
Funding agencies|Swedish Board of Agriculture||Swedish Animal Welfare Agency||Available from: 2010-07-13 Created: 2010-07-13 Last updated: 2017-12-12

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