Behavioural changes after mixing can be detected in automatically obtained activity patterns of pigs

Sanne Ott, Christel Moons, M. Kashiha, Bart Ampe, Joris Vandermeulen, Claudia Bahr, Daniel Berckmans, Theo Niewold, Frank Tuyttens

    Onderzoeksoutput: Hoofdstuk in Boek/Rapport/CongresprocedureC3: Congres abstractpeer review


    Automated image analysis to measure animal behaviour facilitates the collection of daily and continuous data of animals. Continuous monitoring could be useful in livestock husbandry because certain changes in the baseline of daily activity patterns could indicate welfare and health problems. This study investigated the possibility to automatically detect changes in the activity patterns of pigs after mixing. Forty grower pigs (25.1±4.4 kg) were equally distributed over four conventional pens and balanced for sex, live weight and litter. After seven days, five pigs from one pen were swapped (07:00h) with five from another pen (treatment pens T1 and T2). The two remaining pens served as controls (C1 and C2). Video images from a top view camera were collected and analysed for 10 hours (08:00 to 18:00h) on four days before and four days after the treatment pens were mixed. Automated activity patterns of the control and treatment pens were obtained by calculating the mean activity index per minute (AI): the relative number of moving pixels between two consecutive image frames (1 frame/second) averaged per minute.

    Changes in the activity pattern of each pen were expressed as the sum of sudden deviations (SSDEV) per day. A sudden deviation was defined as a significant increase or decrease (significance level of 0.05) in the AI compared to the mean AI from the preceding 3 minutes. Within pens the SSDEV was comparable during the four recording days prior to mixing, but the SSDEV differed between pens: C1 43±5.0 (mean±sd); C2 30±2.5; T1 49±5.8; T2 28±2.2. On the day of mixing, the treatment pens both showed a two-fold increase in their SSDEV (T1 105; T2 77) compared to the days before and after mixing, while the control pens did not (C1: 36; C2:24). This likely reflected the behavioural changes (aggressive interactions) caused by the mixing. These preliminary results suggest that automated measurements of daily activity in pigs can be useful in detection of behavioural changes at pen level.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TitelProceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level
    EditorsLuc Mounier, Isabelle Veissier
    Aantal pagina’s1
    Plaats productieClermont-Ferrand
    UitgeverijWageningen Academic Publishers
    ISBN van geprinte versie978-90-8686-247-4
    ISBN van elektronische versie978-90-8686-798-1
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 2-sep-2014
    EvenementWAFL 2014 - Clermont-Ferrand, Frankrijk
    Duur: 3-sep-20145-sep-2014


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    • WAFL 2014

      Frank Tuyttens (Spreker)


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