• Analysis of meat quality traits and gene expression profiling of pigs divergent in residual feed intake

      Horodyska, Justyna; Oster, Michael; Reyer, Henry; Mullen, Anne Maria; Lawlor, Peadar G; Wimmers, Klaus; Hamill, Ruth; European Union Seventh Framework Programme; 311794 (Elsevier, 2017-11-20)
      Residual feed intake (RFI), the difference between actual feed intake and predicted feed requirements, is suggested to impact various aspects of meat quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underpinning the relationship between RFI and meat quality. Technological, sensory and nutritional analysis as well as transcriptome profiling were carried out in Longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle of pigs divergent in RFI (n = 20). Significant differences in sensory profile and texture suggest a minor impairment of meat quality in more efficient pigs. Low RFI animals had leaner carcasses, greater muscle content and altered fatty acid profiles compared to high RFI animals. Accordingly, differentially expressed genes were enriched in muscle growth and lipid & connective tissue metabolism. Differences in protein synthesis and degradation suggest a greater turnover of low RFI muscle, while divergence in connective tissue adhesion may impact tenderness. Fatty acid oxidation tending towards decrease could possibly contribute to reduced mitochondrial activity in low RFI muscle.
    • Artificial rearing affects piglets pre-weaning behaviour, welfare and growth performance

      Schmitt, Océane; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Boyle, Laura; Baxter, Emma M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S428 (Elsevier, 2018-11-02)
      One strategy adopted on farms to deal with managing large litters involves removing piglets from their mothers at seven days old to be reared in specialised accommodation with milk replacer. Effects on piglet behaviour, growth and some aspects of welfare were evaluated in this study by comparing 10 pairs of two litters (one sow-reared: SR, one artificially-reared: AR) selected at seven days-old at a similar weight. Piglet behaviour was recorded for 20 min following transfer of AR piglets to the artificial-rearing enclosure (D0) and for 20 min hourly between 09:00 h and 17:00 h (8 h) on D5 and D12. Hourly 5 min live observations were also undertaken. Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) was conducted on D14 to evaluate piglets’ emotional state. Survival and illness events were recorded until weaning. On D0, D1, D8 and D15 piglets were weighed and scored for tear staining, dirtiness of the face and severity of lesions on the snout, limbs, ear and tail. Survival and illness rates, as well as the rates of behaviours/min were analysed using GLMMs. Weights and QBA scores were analysed using GLM. Lesions, tear staining and dirtiness scores were averaged per litter and analysed using GLM. When AR piglets were transferred to the artificial-rearing enclosure, their behaviour was not different to SR piglets. Over the two observation days, AR piglets performed more belly-nosing (F1,76.53 = 42.25; P < 0.001), nursing-related displacements (F1,79 = 19.32, P < 0.001), visits to the milk cup (compared to nursing bouts; F1,73.8 = 38.42, P < 0.001), and oral manipulation of littermates’ ears (F1,91.95 = 12.79, P < 0.001) and tails (F1,58.54 = 15.63, P < 0.001) than SR piglets. However, SR piglets played alone (F1,88.99 = 8.29, P < 0.005) and explored their environment (F1,99.42 = 4.52, P < 0.05) more frequently than AR piglets. The QBA scores indicated a lower emotional state in AR piglets (t25.1=-3.25, P < 0.05). Survival rate and overall illness rate of piglets were similar between the treatments. AR piglets experienced a growth check following their transfer to the artificial-rearing enclosure and remained lighter than SR piglets through to weaning (6.53 ± 0.139 kg vs. 7.97 ± 0.168 kg, t256 = 9.79, P < 0.001). Overall, snout lesion scores were not different between the treatments, but AR piglets had lower limb (F1,10.1 = 5.89, P < 0.05) and ear (F1,14.5 = 24.89, P < 0.001) lesion scores and higher tail lesion scores (F1,34.5 = 15.54, P < 0.001). AR piglets were dirtier (F1,17.4 = 23.38, P < 0.001) but had lower tear staining scores (F1,19.1 = 68.40, P < 0.001) than SR piglets. In conclusion, artificial rearing impaired piglets’ behaviour, welfare and growth.
    • Behaviour of tail-docked lambs tested in isolation

      Marchewka, Joanna; Beltran de Heredia, Ina; Averos, Xavier; Ruiz, Roberto; Zanella, Adroaldo J.; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Estevez, Inma; European Commission; Ministry for Economic Development and Competitiveness of the Basque Government; FP7-KBBE-2010-4 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-12)
      The aims of the current study were to detect behavioural indicators of pain of tail-docked sheep tested in isolation and to determine the relationship between behaviour and the pain levels to which they were exposed. Twenty-four female lambs, randomly assigned to four pens, had their tail docked with a rubber ring (TD; n = 6) without pain control procedures, TD with anaesthesia (TDA; n = 6) or TD with anaesthesia and analgesia (TDAA; n = 6). Additionally, six lambs handled but without tail docking or application of pain relief measures were used as the control (C). On the day prior (Day –1) to the TD and on days 1, 3 and 5 post-procedure, each lamb was individually removed from its group and underwent a 2.5 min open field test in a separate pen. Frequencies of behaviours such as rest, running, standing, walking and exploring were directly observed. Frequencies of exploratory climbs (ECs) and abrupt climbs (ACs) over the testing pen’s walls were video-recorded. Data were analysed using generalised linear mixed models with repeated measurements, including treatment and day as fixed effects and behaviour on Day –1 as a linear covariate. Control and TDAA lambs stood more frequently than TD lambs. TD lambs performed significantly more ACs compared to all other treatment groups. No other treatment effects were detected. A day effect was detected for all behaviours, while the EC frequency was highest for all tail-docked lambs on Day 5. Findings suggest that standing, ACs and ECs could be used as potential indicators of pain in isolated tail-docked lambs. However, differences in ECs between treatments only appeared 3 d after tail docking.
    • Behavioural responses of pasture based dairy cows to short term management in tie-stalls

      Enriquez-Hidalgo, Daniel; Lemos Teixeira, Dayane; Lewis, Eva; Buckley, Frank; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Boyle, Laura; UNIVERSA Fellowship (Elsevier, 2017-09-22)
      Dairy cows in experimental grazing herds are often confined for metabolic measurements. The objective of this study was to establish effects of transfer from pasture, to tie-stalls in a metabolism house, then back to pasture, on lying behaviour and locomotion score of lactating cows: Holstein-Friesian (H, n = 16), Jersey (J, n = 16) and H × J (HJ, n = 16). Cows were transferred to tie-stalls on d 1 for 12 days, and were offered freshly cut ryegrass according to herbage allowance (HERB) and genotype: J low = 14; J high = 17; H and HJ low = 16; and H and HJ high = 20 kg DM/d. Lying behaviour was recorded on four days: −2, −1 (Pre-confinement), 3 (Early confinement), 10, 11 (Late confinement), 13 and 14 (Post-confinement) relative to transfer (d 1) using dataloggers, and was also video-recorded during the first 15 h. Locomotion score was recorded on days −4, −3, 12 and 16. No effects of HERB on lying variables were observed during the first 15 h in confinement, but J cows made more lying intentions (21.0 vs. 12.2; P < 0.05) and tended (P = 0.07) to have a shorter latency to lie. Cows spent less (P < 0.001) time lying in early confinement (07:22:29 h/d) than on any of the other occasions (9:12:50 h/d). Cows had more (P < 0.001) and shorter (P < 0.001) lying bouts in confinement than while at pasture. Low HERB cows spent more time lying than high HERB cows (09:54:55 vs. 09:09:33 h/d; P < 0.01). J had higher locomotion scores than H (9.2 ± 0.2 vs.7.8 ± 0.2; P < 0.001), and tended (P = 0.09) to have higher scores than HJ (8.5 ± 0.2) cows. Locomotion scores were lowest pre confinement, highest at turnout (d 12), and intermediate after that at pasture (d 16) (7.6 ± 0.2, 9.3 ± 0.2 and 8.6 ± 0.3, respectively; P < 0.01). On transfer to the metabolism house cows showed disrupted patterns of lying although daily lying time returned to levels similar to pasture by late confinement. Confinement also resulted in a short-term deterioration in locomotory ability, which although improving, was still evident 4 days following the cows return to pasture with Jersey cows being more affected than the other genotypes. These findings suggest that longer adaptation periods and temporary release to loafing areas may improve both the validity of data collected and cow welfare.
    • Blood parameters as biomarkers in a Salmonella spp. disease model of weaning piglets

      Barba-Vidal, Emili; Buttow Roll, Victor Fernando; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Torrente, Carlos; Moreno Munoz, Jose Antonio; Perez, Jose Francisco; Martin-Orue, Susana Maria; Spanish Ministry of Education and Science; Laboratorios Ordesa S.L.; CNPQ Brazil; et al. (PLOS, 2017-10-26)
      Background The weaning pig is used as an experimental model to assess the impact of diet on intestinal health. Blood parameters (BP) are considered a useful tool in humans, but there is very scarce information of such indicators in the weaning pig. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the use of different BP as indicators in an experimental model of salmonellosis. Methodology Seventy-two 28-day-old piglets were divided into four groups in a 2x2 factorial arrangement, with animals receiving or not a probiotic combination based on B. infantis IM1® and B. lactis BPL6 (109 colony forming units (cfu)/d) and orally challenged or not a week later with Salmonella Typhimurium (5x108 cfu). Blood samples of one animal per pen (N = 24) were taken four days post-inoculation for the evaluation of different BP using an I-stat® System and of plasmatic concentrations of zinc, iron and copper. Principal findings Results reported marginal deficiencies of zinc in piglets at weaning. Moreover, plasmatic zinc, copper and iron presented good correlations with weight gain (r 0.57, r -0.67, r 0.54 respectively; P < 0.01). Blood electrolytes (Na+, Cl- and K+) decreased (P < 0.01) only when the performance of the animals was seriously compromised and clinical symptoms were more apparent. Acid-base balance parameters such as HCO3-, TCO2 and BEecf significantly correlated with weight gain, but only in the challenged animals (r -0.54, r -0.55, and r -0.51, respectively; P < 0.05), suggesting metabolic acidosis depending on Salmonella infection. Glucose was affected by the challenge (P = 0.040), while Htc and Hgb increased with the challenge and decreased with the probiotic (P < 0.05). Furthermore, correlations of Glu, Htc and Hgb with weight gain were observed (P < 0.05). Overall, BP could be regarded as simple, useful indexes to assess performance and health of weaning piglets.
    • Cow welfare in grass based milk production systems

      Boyle, Laura; Olmos, G.; Llamas Moya, S.; Palmer, M.A.; Gleeson, David E; O'Brien, Bernadette; Horan, Brendan; Berry, Donagh; Arkins, S.; Alonso Gómez, M.; et al. (Teagasc, 2008-08-01)
      Under this project, aspects of pasture based milk production systems, namely different milking frequency and feeding strategies as well as genetic selection for improved fitness using the Irish Economic Breeding Index (EBI) were evaluated in terms of dairy cow behaviour, health, immune function and reproductive performance. Additionally, a typical Irish pasture based system was compared to one in which cows were kept indoors in cubicles and fed a total mixed ration for the duration of lactation in order to elucidate the perceived benefits of pasture based systems for dairy cow welfare.
    • Cross-Fostering Implications for Pig Mortality, Welfare and Performance

      Calderon Diaz, Julia; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 14/S/832 (Frontiers, 2018-06-06)
      This study aimed to (1) identify cross-fostering (CF) practices employed on a commercial farm; (2) characterize CF pigs according to litter of origin traits, and (3) investigate the implications of CF practices on pig mortality, performance and welfare. This was an observational study whereby pigs were managed according to normal farming practice. Pigs (n = 1,016) born within 1 week were classified as non-CF (NCF); CF during the first (CFW1) and second or third (CFW2+) weeks of lactation. Pigs were individually weighed and inspected for the presence of tail (TL), ear (EL) and body lesions (BL) at weaning (7.03 ± 1.61 kg) and at the end of the first (12.9 ± 3.03 kg) and second (31.9 ± 5.50 kg) weaner and grower (66.3 ± 9.12 kg) stages. Mortality was recorded through to slaughter (c. 115 kg). At slaughter, TL were scored and carcass characteristics, presence of pleurisy, enzootic pneumonia, pericarditis and heart condemnations were recorded. 40.8% of CF pigs were CFW1; ANOVA tests revealed these were born to sows with a higher number of piglets born alive than NCF pigs (14.6 ± 2.61 and 12.8 ± 2.68, respectively). The remaining 59.2% of CF pigs were CFW2+; these were, on average, 0.14 kg lighter at birth than NCF pigs. Therefore, a nested case control design was retrospectively applied whereby pigs with complete records to slaughter, were matched for these variables to investigate associations between CF weeks, welfare and performance traits. Growth performance did not differ between CF week (P > 0.05); however, CFW2+ carcasses were 4.9 kg lighter (P < 0.05) compared with NCF and CFW1 pigs. EL were more likely in CFW1 compared to NCF and CFW2+ (P < 0.05) pigs. To investigate the effect of CF week on the risk of mortality, all 1,016 pigs were used. CF pigs were at higher risk of death (P < 0.05) with similar odds in CFW1 and CFW2+ pigs compared with NCF pigs, although other underlying factors could contribute to this result. Performance and health traits were similar between CF weeks. Early cross-fostering appeared to influence the presence of ear lesions but the mechanism is likely indirect and difficult to explain.
    • Cross-Fostering Implications for Pig Mortality, Welfare and Performance

      Calderon Diaz, Julia; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 14/S/832 (Frontiers, 2018-06-06)
      This study aimed to (1) identify cross-fostering (CF) practices employed on a commercial farm; (2) characterize CF pigs according to litter of origin traits, and (3) investigate the implications of CF practices on pig mortality, performance and welfare. This was an observational study whereby pigs were managed according to normal farming practice. Pigs (n = 1,016) born within 1 week were classified as non-CF (NCF); CF during the first (CFW1) and second or third (CFW2+) weeks of lactation. Pigs were individually weighed and inspected for the presence of tail (TL), ear (EL) and body lesions (BL) at weaning (7.03 ± 1.61 kg) and at the end of the first (12.9 ± 3.03 kg) and second (31.9 ± 5.50 kg) weaner and grower (66.3 ± 9.12 kg) stages. Mortality was recorded through to slaughter (c. 115 kg). At slaughter, TL were scored and carcass characteristics, presence of pleurisy, enzootic pneumonia, pericarditis and heart condemnations were recorded. 40.8% of CF pigs were CFW1; ANOVA tests revealed these were born to sows with a higher number of piglets born alive than NCF pigs (14.6 ± 2.61 and 12.8 ± 2.68, respectively). The remaining 59.2% of CF pigs were CFW2+; these were, on average, 0.14 kg lighter at birth than NCF pigs. Therefore, a nested case control design was retrospectively applied whereby pigs with complete records to slaughter, were matched for these variables to investigate associations between CF weeks, welfare and performance traits. Growth performance did not differ between CF week (P > 0.05); however, CFW2+ carcasses were 4.9 kg lighter (P < 0.05) compared with NCF and CFW1 pigs. EL were more likely in CFW1 compared to NCF and CFW2+ (P < 0.05) pigs. To investigate the effect of CF week on the risk of mortality, all 1,016 pigs were used. CF pigs were at higher risk of death (P < 0.05) with similar odds in CFW1 and CFW2+ pigs compared with NCF pigs, although other underlying factors could contribute to this result. Performance and health traits were similar between CF weeks. Early cross-fostering appeared to influence the presence of ear lesions but the mechanism is likely indirect and difficult to explain.
    • Damaging Behaviour and Associated Lesions in Relation to Types of Enrichment for Finisher Pigs on Commercial Farms

      van Staaveren, Nienke; Hanlon, Alison; Boyle, Laura; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 11/S/107 (MDPI AG, 2019-09-12)
      EU legislation states that all pigs must have access to material that allows them to perform investigation and manipulation activities, thereby reducing the risk of pigs performing damaging behaviours (e.g., tail, ear and flank biting). We aimed to determine associations between damaging behaviours performed by finisher pigs, the related lesions and the use of different types of enrichment. Six randomly selected pens of finisher pigs were observed for 10 min each on 31 commercial pig farms in Ireland. All pigs were counted and the number of pigs affected by tail, ear and flank lesions was recorded. During the last 5 min, all occurrences of damaging behaviour (tail-, ear- and flank-directed behaviour) were recorded. The type (chain, plastic or wood) and number of accessible enrichment objects/pen was recorded. Chains were the most common (41.4% of farms), followed by plastic (37.9%) and wood (20.7%). Damaging behaviour was more frequent on farms that provided chains compared to plastic or wood. Farms with chains were associated with a higher frequency of flank-directed behaviour and tended to be associated with a higher frequency of tail-directed behaviour compared to farms that provided plastic devices. The prevalence of lesions tended to be higher on farms where chains were provided compared to wooden enrichment devices, mostly driven by a difference in the prevalence of mild tail lesions. Results support expert opinions that despite being commonly used, chains did not fulfill a role in reducing damaging behaviours and associated lesions in finisher pigs compared to other forms of enrichment.
    • Delaying pigs from the normal production flow is associated with health problems and poorer performance

      Calderón Díaz, Julia A.; Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Leonard, Nola; McElroy, Máire; McGettrick, Shane; Moriarty, John; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Biomed Central, 2017-07-05)
      Background Delaying pigs from advancing through the production stages could have a negative impact on their health and performance. The objective of this study was to investigate the possible implications of delaying pigs from the normal production flow on pig health and performance in a farrow-to-finish commercial farm with a self-declared All-In/All-Out (AIAO) management. Results Three flows of pigs were defined, flow 1 (i.e. pigs that followed the normal production flow; 8 weeks in the nursery stage, 4 weeks in the growing stage and 8 weeks in the finisher stage), flow 2 (i.e. pigs delayed 1 week from advancing to the next production stage) and flow 3 (i.e. pigs delayed >1 week from advancing to the next production stage). Flow 3 included higher proportions of pigs from first parity sows and of lighter birth weights. When the 3 flows were matched by parity and birth weight, pigs in flow 2 were 3.8 times more likely to be lame prior to slaughter compared with pigs in flow 1. Similarly, pigs in flow 3 were more likely to be lame prior to slaughter, 4.5 times more likely to present pleurisy, 3.3 times more like to present pericarditis and 4.3 times more likely to have their heart condemned at slaughter compared with pigs in flow 1. Additionally, carcasses from pigs in flow 3 were 10 kg lighter compared with carcasses from pigs in flow 1. Conclusion Delayed pigs were more affected by disease and were lighter at slaughter. Besides animal welfare issues, these findings could represent considerable economic loses for pig producers. In practice, delaying pigs from the normal production flow translates into higher feeding costs, increase number of days to slaughter and increased labour requirements reducing production efficiency for the pig operation. In farrow-to-finish farms an ‘all-forward’ policy (i.e. no pig is left behind from stage to stage and a split marketing approach is applied when sending pigs to slaughter) might be more easily adhered to.
    • Development of on-farm control measures for the reduction of Salmonellosis in slaughter pigs

      Lynch, P Brendan; Leonard, Nola; Egan, J.; Kozlowski, M.; Mannion, C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The purpose of this study was to assess on-farm control measure for the reduction in the incidence of Salmonella on commercial pig units which were in Category 3 (high incidence) based on the slaughter-plant meat juice Elisa test under the national Salmonella control scheme. In Task 1, a survey was carried out on 86 pig units of known Salmonella status, 45 were in category 3 or high Category 2 (high incidence) and 41 were in Category 1 (low incidence). Information was collected on the physical facilities, location, ownership and management practices on these farms with a view to identifying risk factors associate with a high prevalence of Salmonellosis. Task 2 was the development (in conjunction with the farm owner/operator and his veterinary adviser) of control programmes for selected farms (n = 14). Farms were selected on the basis of being in Salmonella level Category 3 and the willingness of the operator to participate. Task 3 involved monitoring of the Salmonella incidence on the farms in Task 2 for a 24 month period. This involved collection of blood and faeces samples from pigs from each production stage on the unit at approximately 6-month intervals. Task 4 was an assessment of the costs to the pig industry (and individual producer) of measures associated with the Salmonella control programme. Task 5 was a study of the effect of hygiene, transport and lairage practices on Salmonella prevalence in slaughtered pigs.
    • Development of Sustainable low cost animal accommodation outwintering pads (OWP’s)

      French, Padraig; Boyle, Laura; National Development Plan (NDP) (Teagasc, 2008-07)
      The aims of this study were to compare three different OWP designs with cubicle housing in terms of hoof and udder health, dirtiness scores, animal behaviour and productivity. The study was conducted over the winters 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. The pad designs investigated were: Sheltered and unsheltered pads where cows were fed from a concrete apron adjacent to the woodchip lying area and an unsheltered self-feed pad where cows self-fed from a silage pit on top of the woodchip lying area. The latter design option was not included in the first year of the study. In that year the space allowance also differed between the sheltered and unsheltered pads. In the second year of the study animals in all three pad designs had the same space allowance.
    • Differences in intestinal size, structure, and function contributing to feed efficiency in broiler chickens reared at geographically distant locations

      Metzler-Zebeli, B.U.; Magowan, E.; Hollmann, M.; Ball, M.E.E.; Molnár, A.; Witter, K.; Ertl, R.; Hawken, R.J.; Lawlor, Peadar G.; O’Connell, N.E.; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2018-02)
      The contribution of the intestinal tract to differences in residual feed intake (RFI) has been inconclusively studied in chickens so far. It is also not clear if RFI-related differences in intestinal function are similar in chickens raised in different environments. The objective was to investigate differences in nutrient retention, visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, jejunal permeability and expression of genes related to barrier function, and innate immune response in chickens of diverging RFI raised at 2 locations (L1: Austria; L2: UK). The experimental protocol was similar, and the same dietary formulation was fed at the 2 locations. Individual BW and feed intake (FI) of chickens (Cobb 500FF) were recorded from d 7 of life. At 5 wk of life, chickens (L1, n = 157; L2 = 192) were ranked according to their RFI, and low, medium, and high RFI chickens were selected (n = 9/RFI group, sex, and location). RFI values were similar between locations within the same RFI group and increased by 446 and 464 g from low to high RFI in females and males, respectively. Location, but not RFI rank, affected growth, nutrient retention, size of the intestine, and jejunal disaccharidase activity. Chickens from L2 had lower total body weight gain and mucosal enzyme activity but higher nutrient retention and longer intestines than chickens at L1. Parameters determined only at L1 showed increased crypt depth in the duodenum and jejunum and enhanced paracellular permeability in low vs. high RFI females. Jejunal expression of IL1B was lower in low vs. high RFI females at L2, whereas that of TLR4 at L1 and MCT1 at both locations was higher in low vs. high RFI males. Correlation analysis between intestinal parameters and feed efficiency metrics indicated that feed conversion ratio was more correlated to intestinal size and function than was RFI. In conclusion, the rearing environment greatly affected intestinal size and function, thereby contributing to the variation in chicken RFI observed across locations.
    • Differences in leukocyte profile, gene expression, and metabolite status of dairy cows with or without sole ulcers

      O'Driscoll, Keelin; McCabe, Matthew; Earley, Bernadette; Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship; 252611 (Elsevier, 2014-12-31)
      Sole ulcers are one of the most severe pathologies causing lameness in dairy cows and are associated with abnormal behavior and impaired production performance. However, little is known about how or whether lameness caused by sole ulcers affects the cow systemically. This study compared hematology profile, leukocyte gene expression, and physiological responses [metabolite, cortisol, the endogenous steroid hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and haptoglobin concentrations] of cows with sole ulcers and healthy cows. Twelve clinically lame cows (lame) were identified as having at least one sole ulcer and no other disorder, and matched with a cow that had good locomotion and no disorders (sound), using days in milk, liveweight, body condition score, and diet. Blood samples were taken from all 24 cows within 24 h of sole ulcer diagnosis. Leukocyte counts were obtained using an automated cell counter, cortisol and DHEA concentration by ELISA, and plasma haptoglobin, urea, total protein, creatine kinase, and glucose were analyzed on an Olympus analyzer. Expression of 16 genes associated with lameness or stress were estimated using reverse transcription-PCR. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure in SAS software (version 9.3; SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Lame cows had a higher neutrophil percentage, a numerically lower lymphocyte percentage, and tended to have a higher neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio than sound cows. Serum cortisol and DHEA concentrations were higher in lame than in sound cows. Lame cows also tended to have higher haptoglobin and glucose levels than sound, as well as higher protein yet lower urea levels. Sound cows tended to have higher relative expression of the gene coding for colony-stimulating factor 2 than lame, but in all other cases where differences were detected in cytokine gene expression (IL-1α, IL-1β, CXCL8, and IL-10), relative gene expression in sound cows tended to be, or was, lower than in lame. Relative expression of MMP-13, GR-α, Fas, haptoglobin, and CD62L were, or tended to be, higher in lame than sound cows. A high neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio in combination with higher cortisol levels in cows with ulcers is indicative of physiological stress. Moreover, increased DHEA and a higher cortisol:DHEA ratio, as well as a tendency for higher haptoglobin levels and increased haptoglobin mRNA expression, are indicative of systemic inflammation. Increased cytokine mRNA expression indicates activation of the immune system compared with healthy cows. Increased expression of MMP-13 mRNA has been found in cows with impaired locomotion and thus could be implicated in development of claw horn disorders.
    • Do weaner pigs need in-feed antibiotics to ensure good health and welfare?

      Diana, Alessia; Manzanilla, Edgar G; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Leonard, Nola; Boyle, Laura (PLOS, 2017-10-05)
      Antibiotics (AB) are used in intensive pig production systems to control infectious diseases and they are suspected to be a major source of antibiotic resistance. Following the ban on AB use as growth promoters in the EU, their prophylactic use in-feed is now under review. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of removing prophylactic in-feed AB on pig health and welfare indicators. Every Monday for six weeks, a subset of 70 pigs were weaned, tagged and sorted into two groups of 35 pigs according to weight (9.2 ± 0.6 kg). AB were removed from the diet of one group (NO, n=6) and maintained in the other group (AB, n=6) for nine weeks. Ten focal pigs were chosen per group. After c. five weeks each group was split into two pens of c.17 pigs for the following 4 weeks. Data were recorded weekly. Skin, tail, ear, flank and limb lesions of focal pigs were scored according to severity. The number of animals per group affected by health deviations was also recorded. The number of fights and harmful behaviours (ear, tail bites) per group was counted during 3×5min observations once per week. Data were analysed using mixed model equations and binomial logistic regression. At group level, AB pigs were more likely to have tail (OR=1.70; P=0.05) but less likely to have ear lesions than NO pigs (OR=0.46; P<0.05). The number of ear bites (21.4±2.15 vs. 17.3±1.61; P<0.05) and fights (6.91±0.91 vs. 5.58±0.72; P=0.09) was higher in AB than in NO pigs. There was no effect of treatment on health deviations and the frequency of these was low. Removing AB from the feed of weaner pigs had minimal effects on health and welfare indicators.
    • The duration of the outdoor rearing period of pigs influences Iberian ham characteristics

      Carrapiso, A.I.; Jurado, A.; Martin, L.; Garcia, C. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The effect of outdoor rearing duration (75 v 50 days) and rearing system (outdoor v indoor based systems) of Iberian pigs on the chemical composition (fatty acid composition of fat and intramuscular fat, moisture, salt, pigment concentrations and water activity of lean meat), the instrumental colour (CIEL*a*b* system) and the sensory characteristics (descriptive analysis) of dry-cured hams were investigated. The fatty acid composition of subcutaneous fat was weakly affected by outdoor rearing duration, but greatly affected by rearing system with the indoor hams showing larger proportion of saturated fatty acids than outdoor rearing. Rearing system also affected L* of subcut aneous fat (the indoor hams were lighter than the outdoor ones). The instrumental colour of lean was only affected by outdoor rearing duration (scores for a* and its derived variables were larger in the long-outdoor group than in the short-outdoor one). The effect of outdoor rearing duration on the sensory characteristics of Iberian hams was marked, 13 sensory characteristics being affected. Among them, odour intensity, flavour intensity, and flavour persistence were greater in the long-outdoor hams than in the short-outdoor ones, whereas these characteristics were not affected by rearing system. However, rearing system also had a large effect influencing 12 sensory characteristics.
    • Dynamic space utilization for lame and non-lame gestating sows estimated by the lying-standing sequence

      Mumm, Jared M.; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Stock, Joseph D.; Johnson, Anna K.; Dekkers, Jack C.M.; Ramirez, Alejandro; Azarpajouh, Samaneh; Stalder, Kenneth J.; National Pork Board; Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-02-25)
      The objective of this study was to estimate the dynamic space utilization for lame and non-lame sows using their lying-standing postural sequence profile. Eighty-five sows (parity 0.9 ± 1.14; range 0 to 4) were used. Sows were moved to a pen on 30, 60 and 90 days of gestation and a ceiling mounted camera was installed above the pen to record one lying-standing event per sow. Observations ceased when the sow lied and stood, or 2.5 h elapsed from recording commencement. Additionally, each sow was evaluated for walking lameness while moving from their gestation stall to the pen. Still frames were captured from the sows’ lying and standing sequences and were combined into a single image and measured by counting pixels from contouring the sows’ body (CONTOUR), overlaying a grid on the sow image and counting any square including any part of the sow (FULL-GRID) and only counting any square that was half full or more (HALF-GRID). The space utilized while turning around was calculated by measuring the sows’ length from snout to the base of the tail and using that length as the diameter of a circle (D-PIVOT), or as the radius of a circle (R-PIVOT). Parity was re-classified as 0, 1, and 2+. There were no observed differences in the dynamic space utilized to lie, stand or turn around between lame and non-lame sows (P > 0.05). On average, sows used 1.2 ± 0.47 m2 to lie and 1.3 ± 0.46 m2 to stand. There was no difference between the CONTOUR and HALF-GRID methods (P > 0.05); however, using the FULL-GRID sows required 0.3 m2 more floor area to lie and stand compared with the other measuring methods (P < 0.05). Space used to turn around differed between measuring method (P < 0.05). Sows required 1.9 ± 0.18 m2 for D-PIVOT and 7.3 ± 0.18 m2 for R-PIVOT to turn around. Space utilized to lie-down and stand-up increased as gestation progressed (P < 0.05). Under the conditions of this study, lameness did not influence dynamic space utilization; however, lameness recorded was relatively mild and might not have been sufficiently severe to significantly affect the results. These results could be important in decision-making process for housing specifications regarding US sow gestation housing.
    • Ear, tail and skin lesions vary according to different production flows in a farrow-to-finish pig farm

      Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; García Manzanilla, Edgar; Leonard, Finola C; Calderón Díaz, Julia A; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/S/832 (Biomed Central, 2019-07-15)
      Background Pig performance and risk of disease are associated with production flow. Given the link between health and welfare, it is likely that animal welfare indicators are also associated with production flow. This study investigated the association between production flow and tail, ear and skin lesions on a farm with a purported ‘all-in/all-out’ policy. This was an observational study whereby pigs were managed according to routine farm practice. A total of 1,016 pigs born within 1 week from the same batch were followed through the production stages and the presence or absence of welfare indicators was recorded at 4, 7, 9, 12, 16 and 24 weeks of age. Three production flows were retrospectively identified: flow 1 = ‘normal’ pigs that advanced through the production stages together ‘on time’, flow 2 = pigs delayed from advancing from the 1st to the 2nd nursery stage by 1 week and flow 3 = pigs delayed from advancing through the production stages by > 1 week. A nested case control design was applied by matching pigs by sow parity, number of born alive and birth weight. Results The presence of ear lesions was 4.5 less likely in pigs in flow 2 and 2.9 times less likely in pigs in flow 3 (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 1. Pigs in flow 3 were 2.2 more likely to have tail and 1.6 times more likely to have ear lesions (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 2. Pigs in flow 2 were less likely to have tail lesions compared with pigs in flow 1 (P < 0.05). Differences between production flows for the risk of skin lesions varied according to age (P < 0.05). Conclusion All production flows were associated with a high risk of lesions which raises concerns for pig welfare. However, risks for ear, tail and skin lesions varied according to each production flow likely due to the specific management practices inherent to each flow. Results from this study could be used to modify existing management practices, thus leading to improvements in animal welfare and possibly performance in intensive pig systems.
    • Ear, tail and skin lesions vary according to different production flows in a farrow-to-finish pig farm

      Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Leonard, Finola Catherine; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 14/S/832 (Biomed Central, 2019-07-15)
      Background: Pig performance and risk of disease are associated with production flow. Given the link between health and welfare, it is likely that animal welfare indicators are also associated with production flow. This study investigated the association between production flow and tail, ear and skin lesions on a farm with a purported ‘all-in/all-out’ policy. This was an observational study whereby pigs were managed according to routine farm practice. A total of 1,016 pigs born within 1 week from the same batch were followed through the production stages and the presence or absence of welfare indicators was recorded at 4, 7, 9, 12, 16 and 24 weeks of age. Three production flows were retrospectively identified: flow 1 = ‘normal’ pigs that advanced through the production stages together ‘on time’, flow 2 = pigs delayed from advancing from the 1st to the 2nd nursery stage by 1 week and flow 3 = pigs delayed from advancing through the production stages by > 1 week. A nested case control design was applied by matching pigs by sow parity, number of born alive and birth weight. Results: The presence of ear lesions was 4.5 less likely in pigs in flow 2 and 2.9 times less likely in pigs in flow 3 (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 1. Pigs in flow 3 were 2.2 more likely to have tail and 1.6 times more likely to have ear lesions (P < 0.001) compared to pigs in flow 2. Pigs in flow 2 were less likely to have tail lesions compared with pigs in flow 1 (P < 0.05). Differences between production flows for the risk of skin lesions varied according to age (P < 0.05). Conclusion: All production flows were associated with a high risk of lesions which raises concerns for pig welfare. However, risks for ear, tail and skin lesions varied according to each production flow likely due to the specific management practices inherent to each flow. Results from this study could be used to modify existing management practices, thus leading to improvements in animal welfare and possibly performance in intensive pig systems.
    • Early life indicators predict mortality, illness, reduced welfare and carcass characteristics in finisher pigs

      Calderon Diaz, Julia; Boyle, Laura; Diana, Alessia; Leonard, Finola C.; Moriarty, John; McElroy, Máire C.; McGettrick, Shane; Kelliher, Denis; García Manzanilla, Edgar; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-07-30)
      The objective of this study was to investigate associations between early life indicators, lactation management factors and subsequent mortality, health, welfare and carcass traits of offspring. A total of 1016 pigs from a batch born during one week were used. During lactation, number of liveborn piglets, stillborn and mummies, sow parity, number of times cross-fostered, weaning age, birth and weaning body weight (BW) were collected. Mortality was recorded throughout the offspring production cycle. Prior to slaughter, pigs were scored for lameness (1 = non-lame to 3 = severely lame). At slaughter, tail lesions were scored (0 = no lesion to 4 = severe lesion) and cold carcass weight (CCW), lean meat%, presence of pericarditis and heart condemnations were recorded. Additionally, lungs were scored for pleurisy (0 = no lesions to 4 = severely extended lesions) and enzootic pneumonia (EP) like lesions. There was an increased risk of lameness prior to slaughter for pigs born to first parity sows (P < 0.05) compared with pigs born to older sows. Sow parity was a source of variation for cold carcass weight (P < 0.05) and lean meat% (P < 0.05). Pigs born in litters with more liveborn pigs were at greater risk of death and to be lame prior to slaughter (P < 0.05). Pigs that were cross-fostered once were 11.69 times, and those that were cross-fostered ≥2 times were 7.28, times more likely to die compared with pigs that were not cross-fostered (P < 0.05). Further, pigs that were cross-fostered once were at greater risk of pericarditis and heart condemnations compared with pigs that were not cross-fostered (P < 0.05). Pigs with a birth BW of <0.95 kg were at higher mortality risk throughout the production cycle. There was an increased risk of lameness, pleurisy, pericarditis and heart condemnations (P < 0.05) for pigs with lower weaning weights. Additionally, heavier pigs at weaning also had higher carcass weights (P < 0.05). There was an increased risk of lameness for pigs weaned at a younger age (P < 0.05). Males were 2.27 times less likely to receive a score of zero for tail biting compared with female pigs. Results from this study highlight the complex relationship between management, performance and disease in pigs. They confirm that special attention should be given to lighter weight pigs and pigs born to first parity sows and that cross-fostering should be minimised.