Behavior and reproductive performance by stalled breeding females on a commercial swine farm

T. Sekiguchi, Yuzo Koketsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The behavior of stalled females pigs was observed to investigate the relations between behavior and reproductive performance. A commercial farrow-to-finish farm equipped with a computerized recording system with approximately 300 female pig inventories was visited three times to observe three postural behaviors (lying, standing, and sitting) and three stereotypies (vacuum chewing, drinker playing, and bar biting) of stalled females at 15-min intervals for 6 h (25 times including 0 min of one zero-time sampling) after feeding. Relative frequencies (%) of the postural behaviors and the stereotypies for 6 h were expressed as a percentage of a total of 25 time observations. Statistical models for reproductive performance included each behavior, parity, and day of visit. Among 609 pregnant females observed at our three visits, the means in relative frequencies (%) of lying, standing, sitting, vacuum chewing, drinker playing, and bar biting for 6 h were 60.1 ± 0.91, 32.3 ± 0.87, 7.60 ± 0.44, 12.7 ± 0.65, 0.4 ± 0.06, and 0.2 ± 0.50%, respectively. Among 514 farrowed females of the 609 pregnant females, the means of total pigs born, pigs born alive, pigs born dead, birth litter weights, pigs weaned, and adjusted 21-d litter weights were 12.3 ± 0.13, 11.2 ± 0.12, 1.1 ± 0.06, 17.1 ± 0.18 kg, 10.3 ± 0.08, and 68.1 ± 0.40 kg, respectively. Females showing a high relative frequency (≥36%) of vacuum chewing during gestation produced fewer (P < 0.05) total pigs born (11.7 ± 0.38 vs. 12.6 ± 0.22) than those showing no vacuum chewing. No relationships were found between vacuum chewing and other performance measurements such as pigs born alive, pigs weaned, and adjusted 21-d litter weights. Neither postural behavior nor the other stereotypies were related to reproductive performance. The farrowing rate was not related to any postural behavior and stereotypy in logistic regression mixed models. This study suggests that a subpopulation of females exists on commercial farms that frequently exhibit vacuum chewing and give birth to fewer total pigs. High frequency of vacuum chewing in those females may be indicative of their suboptimal reproductive performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1487
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004


  • Pigs
  • Stereotypies
  • Vacuum Chewing

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