Now showing items 41-60 of 115

    • 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.
    • Using the Biocheck.UGent™ scoring tool in Irish farrow-to-finish pig farms: assessing biosecurity and its relation to productive performance

      Rodrigues da Costa, Maria; Gasa, Josep; Calderón Díaz, Julia A; Postma, Merel; Dewulf, Jeroen; McCutcheon, Gerard; Manzanilla, Edgar G; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 14/S/832 (Biomed Central, 2019-03-01)
      Background Biosecurity is one of the main factors affecting disease occurrence and antimicrobial use, and it is associated with performance in pig production. However, the importance of specific measures could vary depending on the (national) context. The aim of this study was to describe the biosecurity status in a cohort of Irish pig farms, to investigate which of those biosecurity aspects are more relevant by using the Biocheck.UGent™ scoring system, and to study the impact of such aspects on farm performance. Results External biosecurity score was high compared to most countries due to the characteristics of the Irish pig sector (i.e. purchasing only semen and breeding gilts on farm). The internal biosecurity score was lower and had greater variability among farms than other EU countries. Using multivariable linear regression, the biosecurity practices explained 8, 23, and 16% of variability in piglet mortality, finisher mortality, and average daily gain, respectively. Three clusters of farms were defined based on their biosecurity scores (0 to 100) using principal components and hierarchical clustering analysis. Scores for clusters 1, 2 and 3 were (mean ± SD) 38 ± 7.6, 61 ± 7.0 and 66 ± 9.8 for internal and 73 ± 5.1, 74 ± 5.3 and 86 ± 4.5 for external biosecurity. Cluster 3 had lower piglet mortality (P = 0.022) and higher average daily gain (P = 0.037) when compared to cluster 2. Conclusions Irish farms follow European tendencies with internal biosecurity posing as the biggest liability. Our results suggest that practices related to the environment and region, feed, water and equipment supply, and the management of the different stages, need to be addressed in lower performing farms to improve productive performance. Further studies on the economic impact of these biosecurity practices including complementary data on herd health, gilt rearing, piglet management, vaccination and feeding strategies are needed.
    • Removing prophylactic antibiotics from pig feed: how does it affect their performance and health?

      Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Leonard, Finola C; Carroll, Ciaran; Sheehan, Eugene; Murphy, Declan; Manzanilla, Edgar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2019-02-26)
      Background Antibiotics (AB) are an important tool to tackle infectious disease in pig farms; however some research indicates that their frequent mis/over-use may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance and the WHO has declared that this issue should be addressed. Little is known about the long term consequences of withdrawing prophylactic AB from pig feed; hence we aimed to assess its effects on performance and health of pigs from weaning to slaughter. Six batches of 140 pigs each were monitored on a commercial farm through the weaner and finisher stages to slaughter. In-feed antibiotics were not added to the feed for half of the pigs (NOI) and were added in the other half (ABI) within each batch for the whole weaner stage. Individual pigs in both treatments were treated with parenteral administrations if and when detected as ill or lame. Productive performance, parenteral treatments and mortality were recorded on farm and the presence of respiratory disease was recorded at slaughter. Pen was considered the experimental unit. Results ABI pigs showed higher growth (P = 0.018) and feed intake (P = 0.048) than NOI pigs in the first weaner stage but feed efficiency was not affected (NOI = 1.48 vs. ABI = 1.52). Despite an initial reduction in performance, NOI pigs had similar performance in finisher stage (ADG: NOI = 865.4 vs. ABI = 882.2) and minimal effects on health compared to ABI pigs. No difference between treatments was found at the abattoir for the percentage of pigs affected by pneumonia, pleurisy, pleuropneumonia and abscesses (P > 0.05). Mortality rate was not affected by treatment during the weaner stage (P = 0.806) although it tended to be slightly higher in NOI than ABI pigs during the finisher stage (P = 0.099). Parenteral treatments were more frequent in NOI pigs during the weaner stage (P <  0.001) while no difference was recorded during the finisher stage (P = 0.406). Conclusions These data suggest that the removal of prophylactic in-feed antibiotics is possible with only minor reductions in productive performance and health which can be addressed by improved husbandry and use of parenteral antibiotics.
    • Effect of phytase, carbohydrase, and protease addition to a wheat distillers dried grains with solubles and rapeseed based diet on in vitro ileal digestibility, growth, and bone mineral density of grower-finisher pigs

      Torres-Pitarch, Alberto; McCormack, Ursula M.; Beattie, Violet; Magowan, Elizabeth; Gardiner, Gillian; Pérez-Vendrell, Anna; Torrallardona, David; O'Doherty, John; Lawlor, Peadar G; European Union; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-07-07)
      The use of rapeseed meal (RSM) and wheat distillers dried grains with solubles (wDDGS) in pig diets is increasing and dietary supplementation with exogenous enzymes has been suggested as means of improving feed efficiency in pigs. The objective of this experiment was to examine the effect of phytase (Phy), a xylanase and β-glucanase complex (XB), protease (Prot) and their various combinations when included in a wDDGS- and RSM-based diet fed to grower-finisher pigs. As the P- and Ca- sparing effect of Phy is well proven, the objective was to examine the additional effects of Phy beyond its P- and Ca-sparing effects. A total of 144 pigs with an initial live weight of 40.1 ± 2.0 kg were assigned to 8 treatments with 9 pens (4 female and 5 male pens) per treatment and 2 females or 2 males per pen. The basal diet was formulated to contain 96 and 200 g/kg of RSM and wDDGS, respectively. The basal diet was supplemented with Phy (0 or 100 mg/kg), XB (0 or 100 mg/kg), and Prot (0 or 200 mg/kg) in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Experimental diets were fed for 76 d. Average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) were recorded, and gain to feed (G:F) was calculated. Carcass quality variables were measured at slaughter and the left forelimb of pigs fed the unsupplemented, the Phy supplemented and the Phy + Prot supplemented diets were removed to determine bone mineral density in the third metacarpal. The inclusion of Phy, XB and Prot in the diets increased in vitro ileal digestibility of dry matter and organic matter (P < 0.05). A tendency towards a 3-way interaction among Phy, XB and Prot was observed for ADG (P = 0.06) and G:F (P = 0.06). The 2-way interactions and main effects did not reveal any improvement for any variable measured in vivo in response to dietary enzyme supplementation. Bone mineral density was not different for pigs fed the unsupplemented, the Phy supplemented and the Phy + Prot supplemented diets. In conclusion, the in vitro ileal digestibility improvements observed were not always reflected in improvements in pig growth, feed efficiency or both. The efficacy of Phy was not reduced when supplemented in combination with Prot, as ADG, G:F, carcass quality and bone mineralization were unchanged.
    • Irish pig farmer's perceptions and experiences of tail and ear biting.

      Haigh, Amy; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Biomed Central, 2019-01-01)
      Abnormal behaviours such as ear and tail biting of pigs is of significant welfare and economic concern. Currently, pig welfare legislation is under renewed focus by the EU commission and is likely to be enforced more thoroughly. The legislation prohibits routine tail docking and requires adequate enrichment to be provided. In Ireland, tail-docking is still the most utilised control mechanism to combat tail biting, but biting is still widespread even in tail-docked pigs. In addition, as pig farms are almost all fully slatted, bedding type material cannot be provided. Thus, the opinions, and practices of farmers in countries like Ireland, which may need to make significant adaptations to typical pig management systems soon, need to be considered and addressed. We carried out a survey of pig farmers during 2015 in order to gain a greater understanding of the extent of biting on Irish farms, perception on the most important preventive measures, current enrichment use and actions following outbreaks. Fifty-eight farmers from 21 Counties responded with an average herd size of 710 ± 597 sows (range 90–3000 sows). Only two farms had experienced no biting in the last year. Of the farms that had experienced tail biting (88%), 86% had also experienced ear biting. The most common concerns relating to biting were condemnation and reduced productivity of bitten pigs with both receiving an average score of 4 (most serious). Ear biting occurred most commonly in the 2nd stage (approximately 47–81 days from weaning) weaner and tail biting in the finishing stage. The most important preventive measures were felt to be taking care of animal health, restricting density, maintaining an even quality of feed/content and maintaining good air movement. Sixty-five percent of respondents added additional enrichment following an outbreak. Chains were the most common form of enrichment currently used (83%). Those not using chains favoured wood, toys and rope (17%). Identification of the most effective and accessible control and prevention measures both for the animals and for the farming community is thus essential. Improved understanding of the concerns and practices of producers, which this survey contributes to, is a first step towards this aim.
    • Heart to spine measurements to detect left atrial enlargement in dogs with mitral insufficiency

      Sánchez Salguero, Xavier; Prandi, David; Llabrés-Díaz, Francisco; Manzanilla, Edgar G; Badiella, Llorenç; Bussadori, Claudio (Biomed Central, 2019-11-20)
      Background Radiography is useful to determine left atrial (LA) size when echocardiography is not available. Recently, the authors have described Radiographic Left Atrial Dimension (RLAD) as a new radiographic measurement to assess LA size. The objective of this study was to assess the clinical usefulness of 2 new radiographic measurements to detect and quantify left atrial enlargement (LAE) compared to RLAD and using left atrium to aortic root (LA/Ao) ratio as gold standard. These new measurements, bronchus-to-spine (Br-Spine) and RLAD-to-spine (RLAD-Spine) may be more precise in cases were LA boundaries are not well defined. Fifty dogs, 25 with and 25 without LAE were recruited. Reference LA/Ao ratio was assessed by 2D echocardiography and LAE was considered if LA/Ao > 1.6. Br-spine was measured as a straight vertical line from the main stem bronchus to the ventral border of the vertebra situated immediately dorsal to the heart base. RLAD-Spine was measured from RLAD endpoint perpendicularly to spine. The correlation of RLAD, Br-Spine and RLAD-Spine methods with LA/Ao and their sensitivity and specificity for detecting LAE were calculated. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves were used to estimate the optimal cut-off for each method. Results Correlations between Br-Spine, RLAD-Spine, RLAD and LA/Ao ratio were − 0.66, − 0.76 and 0.89 respectively (P < 0.001). Sensitivity at the optimal cut-off values for detecting LAE were 32.0, 64.0 and 96.0%, respectively. Specificity was 96.0% in all cases. Conclusion Br-Spine and RLAD-Spine were less sensitive radiographic measurements than RLAD in detecting LAE in dogs. Both Br-Spine and RLAD-Spine may not be good alternatives to RLAD.
    • 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.
    • Microevolution of antimicrobial resistance and biofilm formation of Salmonella Typhimurium during persistence on pig farms

      Tassinari, Eleonora; Duffy, Geraldine; Bawn, Matt; Burgess, Catherine; McCabe, Evonne M.; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Gardiner, Gillian; Kingsley, Robert A.; BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme Microbes in the Food Chain; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Springer Nature, 2019-06-20)
      Salmonella Typhimurium and its monophasic variant S. 4,[5],12:i:- are the dominant serotypes associated with pigs in many countries. We investigated their population structure on nine farms using whole genome sequencing, and their genotypic and phenotypic variation. The population structure revealed the presence of phylogenetically distinct clades consisting of closely related clones of S. Typhimurium or S. 4,[5],12:i:- on each pig farm, that persisted between production cycles. All the S. 4,[5],12:i:- strains carried the Salmonella genomic island-4 (SGI-4), which confers resistance to heavy metals, and half of the strains contained the mTmV prophage, harbouring the sopE virulence gene. Most clonal groups were highly drug resistant due to the presence of multiple antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, and two clades exhibited evidence of recent on-farm plasmid-mediated acquisition of additional AMR genes, including an IncHI2 plasmid. Biofilm formation was highly variable but had a strong phylogenetic signature. Strains capable of forming biofilm with the greatest biomass were from the S. 4,[5],12:i:- and S. Typhimurium DT104 clades, the two dominant pandemic clones found over the last 25 years. On-farm microevolution resulted in enhanced biofilm formation in subsequent production cycle.
    • An ethogram of biter and bitten pigs during an ear biting event: first step in the development of a Precision Livestock Farming tool

      Diana, Alessia; Boyle, Laura; Carpentier, Lenn; Piette, Deborah; Berckmans, Daniel; Norton, Tomas; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; KU Leuven internal research grant; European Union; Reference 6497; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-03-22)
      Pigs reared in intensive farming systems are more likely to develop damaging behaviours such as tail and ear biting (EB) due to their difficulty in coping with the environment and their inability to perform natural behaviours. However, much less is known about the aetiology of EB behaviour compared to tail biting behaviour. Application of new intervention strategies may be the key to deal with this welfare issue. The discipline of Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) allows farmers to improve their management practices with the use of advanced technologies. Exploring the behaviour is the first step to identify reliable indicators for the development of such a tool. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop an ethogram of biter and bitten pigs during an EB event and to find potential features for the development of a tool that can monitor EB events automatically and continuously. The observational study was carried out on a 300 sow farrow-to-finish commercial farm in Ireland (Co. Cork) during the first and second weaner stages. Three pens per stage holding c. 35 pigs each, six pens in total, were video recorded and 2.2 h of videos per pen were selected for video analysis. Two ethograms were developed, one for the biter and one for the bitten pig, to describe their behavioural repertoire. Behaviours were audio-visually labelled using ELAN and afterwards the resulting labels were processed using MATLAB® 2014. For the video data, duration and frequency of the observed behavioural interactions were quantified. Six behaviours were identified for the biter pig and a total of 710 interactions were observed: chewing (215 cases), quick bite (138 cases), pulling ear (97 cases), shaking head (11 cases), gentle manipulation (129 cases) and attempt to EB (93 cases). When the behaviour observed was not certain, it was classified as doubt (27 cases). Seven behaviours were identified for the bitten pig in response to the biters behaviour and were divided in: four non-vocal behaviours described as biting (40 cases), head knocking (209 cases), shaking/moving head (225 cases) or moving away (156 cases); and three vocal behaviours identified as scream (74 cases), grunt (166 cases), and squeal (125 cases). Vocal behaviours were classified using a verified set of features yielding a precision of 83.2%. A significant difference in duration was found between all the behaviours (P < 0.001), except between gentle manipulation and chewing where no difference in duration was found (P < 0.338). The results illustrate the heterogeneity of EB behaviours, which may be used to better understand this poorly studied damaging behaviour. They also indicate potential for the development of a PLF tool to automatically, continuously monitor such behaviour on farm by combining the behaviour of the biter pig and the bitten pigs responses.
    • 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.
    • Preface to the special issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology on the outcomes of the MARLON project on veterinary epidemiology of potential health impacts of genetically modified feeds in livestock

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Epstein, Michelle M.; Kleter, Gijs A. (Elsevier, 2018-04-26)
      This special issue is a collection of articles dedicated to the impact of genetically modified (GM) animal feeds on the health of livestock. It features the outcomes of the research project titled “Monitoring of Animals for Feed-related Risks in the Long Term (MARLON)”.
    • 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.
    • Relationship between tail lesions and lung health in slaughter pigs

      van Staaveren, Nienke; Vale, Ana P.; Manzanilla, Edgar G; Teixeira, Dayane L.; Leonard, Finola C.; Hanlon, Alison; Boyle, Laura; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; VCI Educational Trust Fund; RSF 11/S/107 (Elsevier, 2016-03-10)
      Tail lesions are associated with poor health either because they serve as a point of entry for pathogens or because of shared risk factors. This study investigated the relationship between carcass tail lesion and lung lesion severity scores in slaughter pigs. Carcasses were scored after scalding/dehairing for tail lesion severity (0–4). Lungs were scored according to an adapted version of the BPEX pig health scheme. Severity of enzootic pneumonia (EP-like lesions) was recorded on a scale of 0–50. Severity of pleurisy was scored on a 0–2 scale with score 2 equating to severe pleurisy or those lungs that remained attached to the chest wall (‘lungs in chest’). The database for assessing pleurisy lesions contained all pleurisy scores (n = 5628). Lungs with a score of 2 for pleurisy were excluded from the analysis of all other lung lesions as such lungs could not be assessed for other lesions (n = 4491). Associations between tail lesions and different lung lesion outcomes were analysed using generalized linear mixed models (PROC GLIMMIX) with random effect for batch. Males were more affected by moderate (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.51–2.34) and severe (OR = 5.8, 95% CI 3.45–9.70) tail lesions than females. EP-like lesions and pleurisy were most commonly observed. Pigs with severe tail lesions tended to have more ‘lungs in chest’ than pigs with moderate tail lesions (P = 0.1). No other associations between tail lesions and lung lesions were found. Males had higher odds of having EP-like lesions (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.05–1.36) than females. Tail lesions on the carcass may not be an accurate predictor of lung health. However, tail lesions are important welfare indicators and respiratory disease is a significant infectious condition affecting pigs. Thus, recording of tail and lung lesions at meat inspection provides valuable information regarding on-farm health and welfare of pigs.
    • 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.
    • The Effect of Group Composition and Mineral Supplementation during Rearing on Measures of Cartilage Condition and Bone Mineral Density in Replacement Gilts

      Hartnett, Phoebe; Boyle, Laura; Younge, Bridget; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship programme (MDPI, 2019-08-30)
      Lameness is a major cause of poor longevity and poor welfare in replacement gilts. The problem is exacerbated by inappropriate housing and diet during the rearing period. Replacement gilts are often reared with male finisher pigs destined for slaughter. If they are not castrated, they perform high levels of potentially injurious sexual and aggressive behaviour. Furthermore, finisher pig diets are not designed to meet the needs of developing gilts and may not supply the necessary minerals to support good limb health. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementing the diet of replacement gilts with copper, zinc and manganese and separating them from males during the rearing period on locomotory ability, bone mineral density and cartilage lesion scores. A 2 × 2 factorial design experiment investigated the effect of female-only or mixed-sex rearing, with or without supplementary minerals (Copper, Zinc and Manganese). In total, 384 maternal line gilts were assigned to 32 pens of 12 and were locomotion scored during the rearing period. A sub-sample (n = 102) of gilts were culled at breeding age and the front right limb was removed at slaughter. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, after which the limb was dissected to score the condition of the cartilage. The addition of trace minerals to the diet resulted in increased aBMD in the humerus (P < 0.05) compared to the control diet. Rearing gilts in female-only groups reduced the number of cartilage lesions overall (P < 0.05), and on the humeral condyle (P < 0.05). Rearing replacement gilts in female-only groups and with mineral supplementation had benefits for limb health.
    • Multi-Step Tail Biting Outbreak Intervention Protocols for Pigs Housed on Slatted Floors.

      Chou, Jen-Yun; O'Driscoll, Keelin; D'Eath, Rick B; Sandercock, Dale A; Camerlink, Irene; European Cooperation in Science and Technology; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Rural & Environmental Science & Analytical Services, Scotland (MDPI, 2019-08-20)
      Solutions are needed to keep pigs under commercial conditions without tail biting outbreaks (TBOs). However, as TBOs are inevitable, even in well managed farms, it is crucial to know how to manage TBOs when they occur. We evaluated the effectiveness of multi-step intervention protocols to control TBOs. Across 96 pens (1248 undocked pigs) managed on fully-slatted floors, 40 TBOs were recorded ( 3 out of 12–14 pigs with fresh tail wounds). When an outbreak was identified, either the biters or the victims were removed, or enrichment (three ropes) was added. If the intervention failed, another intervention was randomly used until all three interventions had been deployed once. Fifty percent of TBOs were controlled after one intervention, 30% after 2–3 interventions, and 20% remained uncontrolled. A high proportion of biters/victims per pen reduced intervention success more so than the type of intervention. When only one intervention was used, adding ropes was the fastest method to overcome TBOs. Removed biters and victims were successfully reintroduced within 14 days back to their home pens. In conclusion, 80% of TBOs were successfully controlled within 18.4 1.7 days on average using one or multiple cost-effective intervention strategies.
    • 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.
    • A Single Dose of Fat-Based Energy Supplement to Light Birth Weight Pigs Shortly After Birth Does Not Increase Their Survival and Growth

      Schmitt, Océane; Baxter, Emma; Lawlor, Peadar G; Boyle, Laura; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S428 (MDPI AG, 2019-05-09)
      Low birth weight piglets are at high risk of mortality, because of the rapid depletion of their energy reserves after birth. At 3 h postpartum, 405 piglets weighing <1.1 kg were either dosed orally with 2 mL of (1) coconut oil (CO, 74 kJ/2 mL, n = 107 piglets), (2) commercial product (CP, 71 kJ/2 mL, n = 101 piglets), (3) water (W, 0 kJ/2 mL, n = 100 piglets) or (4) were sham-dosed (S, n = 97 piglets). Treatments were applied within litter (97 sows). Before treatment piglets were weighed, scored for vitality and blood glucose concentration (subset: CO = 45 piglets, CP = 38 piglets, W = 49 piglets and S = 44 piglets) and rectal temperature were measured. Rectal temperature was remeasured 1 h post-treatment (4 h postpartum). At 24 h post-treatment (27 h postpartum), vitality, weight and blood glucose were remeasured. Piglets were weighed on D5, D7, D10, D14, D21 and at weaning (27 ± 0.1 day old). Mortality rate and cause were recorded until 24h period post-treatment and until weaning. Data were analysed using Generalised Linear Mixed Models in SAS. There was no overall effect of treatment on any of the parameters measured. In conclusion, a single oral of fat-based energy supplement dose at birth did not improve growth, survival, rectal temperature or vitality of low birth weight piglets.
    • Rearing Undocked Pigs on Fully Slatted Floors Using Multiple Types and Variations of Enrichment

      Chou, Jen-Yun; Drique, Constance; Sandercock, Dale; D'Eath, Rick; O'Driscoll, Keelin (MDPI AG, 2019-04-02)
      In fully slatted systems, tail biting is difficult to manage when pigs’ tails are not docked because loose enrichment material can obstruct slurry systems. This pilot study sought to determine: a) whether intact-tailed pigs can be reared with a manageable level of tail biting by using multiple slat-compatible enrichment; b) whether a variation of enrichment has an effect; and c) whether pigs show a preference in enrichment use. Ninety-six undocked pigs were given the same enrichment items from one week after birth until weaning. At weaning, four different combinations of 8 enrichment items were utilized based on predefined characteristics. These were randomly assigned to 8 pens (n = 12 pigs/pen). Four pens had the same combination (SAME) from assignment and four pens switched combinations every two weeks (SWITCH). Individual lesion scores, interactions with the enrichment, and harmful behaviours were recorded. The average tail score during the experiment was low (0.93 ± 0.02). Only one pig in a SAME pen had a severely bitten tail (partly amputated). The overall level of interaction with enrichment did not decline over time. Pigs interacted with a rack of loose material most frequently (p < 0.001). The study showed promising results for rearing undocked pigs on fully slatted floors using slat-compatible enrichment.
    • Effect of feed allowance at pasture on the lying behaviour of dairy cows

      O'Driscoll, Keelin; Lewis, Eva; Kennedy, Emer (Elsevier, 2019-02-10)
      In temperate climates where cows are primarily managed at pasture shortages of grass could result in nutritional deficits for the cow and may have a variety of behavioural consequences. Lying behaviour is one of the most researched aspects of dairy cow behaviour, and can provide insights into cow welfare and physiological state. This study investigated the effect of daily herbage allowance (DHA) on the lying behaviour of dairy cow during early lactation. Ninety-six cows were randomly assigned to one of eight treatments in a 2 × 4 factorial design; experimental duration (2 week (2 W) or 6 week (6 W)), and nutritional levels (DHA) (60%, 80%, 100% or 120% of intake capacity). Cows were assigned to treatment at 28 ± 8.4 days in milk, and lying behaviour of cows in the 6 W treatments recorded using modified voltage data loggers on 4 occasions; the week prior to the start of the experiment, during week 3 (MID), and week 6 (LATE), and 7 weeks after the study concluded (POST), when the cows were all returned to a feed allowance of 100% intake capacity. Although there was an effect of treatment on daily lying time (P < 0.01), with the 60% cows spending less time lying than the 120% (P < 0.01), cows in all treatments spent at least 9 h lying per day throughout the experiment. Daily lying time increased as the grazing season progressed (P < 0.001). Feed allowance affected both lying bout duration (P < 0.01) and number (P < 0.05), with cows on the highest feed allowance having the highest values for both. There was an effect of feed allowance on the time that cows first lay down after both morning and afternoon milking (P < 0.001), with a similar pattern for both times; the lower the feed allowance, the longer it took. During the POST period, this pattern was no longer evident in the afternoon, but still present in the morning. None of the treatments imposed resulted in daily lying times lower than those reported in other studies at pasture. However, the significant differences in patterns of lying during the day could be reflective of satiety level; the patterns of lying in cows with a low feed allowance compared to those with an allowance aligned with intake capacity are in agreement with previous research. Herd level recording of lying behaviour, relative to time since milking and/or fresh feed allocation, has potential for use as an animal welfare indicator for cows at pasture.