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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2018, Article ID 2762153, 7 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/2762153
Research Article

Effect of Artificial Piglet Suckling Sounds on Behavior and Performance of Piglets and Adrenal Responses of Sows

1Department of Veterinary Bioscience and Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
2Excellent Center in Veterinary Bioscience, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
3Department of Food Animal Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
4Department of Companion Animal and Wildlife Clinic, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
5Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Panuwat Yamsakul; moc.liamg@ununin

Received 25 March 2018; Revised 6 August 2018; Accepted 15 August 2018; Published 22 October 2018

Academic Editor: Maria Laura Bacci

Copyright © 2018 Jaruwan Khonmee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Operation of the farrowing house is essential to the productivity of a swine farm, requiring not only good management but also knowledge of the behavior of sows and piglets. Stress can negatively affect production in farm animals and could be a factor in production indexes. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of artificial sucking sounds on the behavior of piglets and fecal glucocorticoid (FGM) concentrations of sows. A total of 30 sows were divided into two groups: a treatment group (15 sows) was exposed to artificial sucking sounds and a control group (15 sows) was not. Both groups received the same management; the two open-house system locations were separated by a distance of about 270 meters. The study had three key objectives: to compare farrowing indexes and to observe the sucking behavior of piglets using CCTV cameras. Fecal samples were collected daily for 21 days from the period after parturition to weaning to assess adrenal activity. The treatment group had a significantly higher average number of times piglets came to a sow’s udder, and sows had a shorter onset time for the first piglet to come to the sow’s udder than the control group (both P<0.05). The patterns and levels of FGM between the two groups were not different (both P<0.05), but the treatment group had better farrowing indexes than the control group (P>0.05), particularly for litter weight gain and percent preweaning mortality. In addition, the weaning to first service interval of the treatment group was shorter than the control group (P<0.05). This indicates that the artificial suckling sound probably has no adverse effect on adrenal responses of pig; however, it improves production indexes of postparturition sows.