Neonatal Piglet Interaction with Environmental Enrichment Ropes

Authors: , , , , , ,


The objective of this study was to determine if neonatal piglets would interact with environmental enrichment ropes, drawing them away from the sow. A total of 84 piglets from 9 sows were housed in farrowing stalls. Litters were provided with environmental enrichment ropes hung at piglet eye level above a heat mat on Day 2 to Day 5 after farrowing. Litters were assigned to one of three rope treatments: 1) sunflower oil (OIL), 2) semiochemical (SC) and 3) milky cheese (MC). Overall, 75% (63/84) of the piglets interacted with the ropes. Piglets preferred the plain OIL treatment compared to both the MC and SC treatments, as indicated by a greater total percent of pigs interacting with the OIL ropes. Overall, this study determined that piglets did interact with enrichment ropes, which drew them away from the sow. At this early stage of life, a piglet’s main motivators are sow-directed, so an environmental enrichment tool that draws piglets away from the sow is a significant finding.

Keywords: enrichment, attractants, behavior, neonate, crushing

How to Cite: Hartoonian, P. , Sundman, E. , Gabler, N. K. , Millman, S. T. , Stalder, K. J. , Karriker, L. A. & Johnson, A. K. (2022) “Neonatal Piglet Interaction with Environmental Enrichment Ropes”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report. 19(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/air.13988