Pig behaviour in relation to weather conditions – a review

Katarzyna Olczak 1 , Jacek Nowicki 1 , and Czesław Klocek 1
  • 1 Department of Swine and Small Animal Breeding, Institute of Animal Science, University of Agriculture, Al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Kraków, Poland

Abstract

Weather conditions (temperature, humidity, solar radiation, air pressure, wind strength, wind direction and precipitation) have a significant impact on the behaviour of farm animals. Pigs have developed a wide range of thermoregulatory behaviours that are particular for this species. With increases in temperature the most characteristic behaviour for pigs is decreased activity and increased wallowing in wet surfaces. In addition to this, rooting and wallowing are highly influenced by temperature and humidity. The lack of possibility to express these behaviours leads to development of stereotypies. Interestingly, low temperatures do not increase the use of shelter if not in combination with wind or precipitation. Furthermore, wild pigs build stronger nests in severe conditions. Also, resting behaviour and reproduction may be disturbed by high temperatures. There is a negative impact of foehn wind on boars’ libido and semen parameters.

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