AVS-4100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Flor, Thermoregulation, Colostrum

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20 Pig Behavior
Evolution and domestication
o All domestic pigs are descended from the wild boar Sos scrofa
o Domestication happened at least 6 times across, the pig’s range
(e.g., China, Turkey, Europe) as early as 10,000 years ago
Genetically similarly, different phenotypically and
behaviorally
o Pigs were domesticated from wild boar in 2 different locations,
China and eastern Turkey, the modern breeds of pigs arose
form mixture of these 2 main types
Major modern breeds are a mix of Chinese and European
traditional breeds
o The domestication process exposed pigs to a different set of
selection pressures than those acting on their wild ancestors
Less wary a reduction in the need to escape or fight
predators (i.e., humans); in wild some pigs would fight to
the death
Less selective a reduction in the flexibility of seeking
diverse food sources since they can get all their nutrients
from one source
Higher feed intake and growth rate an elevation in the
appetite, feed intake, and feed conversion
Better fertility higher conception rate, reproduce year
around, bigger litter size (~14 piglets) and milk production
to maintain them
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o However, no ancestral behavior patterns have been lost,
domestication has simply changed how pigs perform certain
behaviors (quantity of performing behavior)
all do very similar things
domestic, intensive
feral
wild
domestic, extensive
Feeding behavior
o Pigs are indiscriminate omnivores and are very adaptable
Wild & feral pigs generally base their diets on plants,
including grass, roots, fruit, berries, nuts, etc.
However, at least 10% of wild pig diet may be of animal
source; pigs will readily eat earthworms, frogs, rodents,
mammals, and carcasses
Pigs will even kill and eat lambs or piglets (i.e., in New
Zealand, wild pigs were responsible for attacking and
killing ~40% of newly-born lambs)
Pigs must have protein in their diet, as they cannot
synthesize all the amino acids they need
o Foraging
Pigs are the least efficient, but the most flexible foraging
angulates, they actively forage for around 50% of their
daily (can easily adjust their schedule around the
temperature/weather to best accommodate for foraging)
Browsing and grazing they will browse and graze
extensively especially during the growing season
However, most of the required energy for growth and
reproduction depends on the large proportion of the high
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energy food in their diet, pigs do prefer sugary and starch
food over a fibrous diet
Therefore, pigs can cause extensive crop
consumption and agriculture damage
o Current problem in swine and why there is a
lot of strategies to control their invasion
worldwide
Rooting
The snout of pigs is a very useful foraging tool, both
sensitive and strong used primarily for…
o Sniff out food that is underground or hidden
o Move stones or logs to get to underlying grubs
o Dig in the earth and turn the soil over to get
access to roots and earthworms
Immediately do this when they have
access to soft ground
Do pigs NEED to root?
o Besides being an Ingestive mechanism, if
allowed, pigs spend lots of time making
rooting motions
o Even if they are housed on concrete and not
on dirt when pigs prevented from rooting,
they showed evidence of frustration and
perform “sham” rooting
Rings on pig noses: pigs on pasture are often fitted
with nose rings to prevent rooting trying to minimize
land damage cause my rooting
o Rings can cause a very painful and create a site
for possible infection or pathogen entry
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