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Title:Environmental and Physiological Aspects of Prepartum Behavior in the Sow
Author(s):Widowski, Tina Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Curtis, Stanley E.
Department / Program:Animal Science
Discipline:Animal Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Agriculture, Animal Culture and Nutrition
Abstract:Experiments were conducted to identify some environmental and physiological factors involved in the prepartum behavior of sows. Eight of 12 penned sows offered 3 kg straw from a wire basket took substantial amounts of straw and used it to construct farrowing nests during the 24 hours preceding birth of first piglet. Most activity was directed at straw and was much the same for all sows. Manipulation of a cloth tassel by 13 prepartum sows in farrowing crates increased significantly during the 24 hours preceding birth. Prepartum behavior of 16 penned sows given straw in a basket (or no straw) and a cloth tassel (or no tassel) were compared. Sows offered straw took straw from the basket and directed most activity at it. Sows provided a cloth tassel only nosed and pulled the tassel significantly more than sows given both straw and tassel and often ripped pieces of cloth from it and directed rooting and pawing at it, suggesting that the tassel served as a substitute for nesting material. All sows engaged in similar durations of typical prepartum activity.
Injection of sows with prostaglandin F$\sb2$a (PGF$\sb2$a) on day 112 postcoitum and 24 hours postpartum provoked nestbuilding behavior within minutes. Sows injected with cloprostenol, an analogue of PGF$\sb2$a, did not exhibit an immediate behavioral response. Endocrine changes stimulated by PGF$\sb2$a and cloprostenol were compared to identify any endocrine events that may have been associated with differences in behavioral response to the compounds. Plasma prolactin increased within 15 minutes after injection of PGF$\sb2$a but more gradually and never to as high a peak after cloprostenol. Both prostaglandin compounds provoked a decline in progesterone, a surge in relaxin, and neither influenced estrone concentration. Differences in pattern of prolactin release after injection of the two compounds suggests differences exist in their action on the hypothalamus or pituitary. These are most likely responsible for differences in behavioral effects of the compounds. Prolactin may play a role in the onset of nestbuilding behavior in the sow. Alternatively, it may be released simultaneously by some hypothalamic mechanism that is also responsible for triggering the behavior.
Issue Date:1988
Description:334 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823288
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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