Lifetime consequences of the early physical and social environment of piglets

Helena Telkanranta, Sandra Edwards

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Most studies on pig behaviour and welfare have been carried out on pigs past the weaning age: sows, gilts and growing-finishing pigs. However, a growing body of evidence shows that young piglets also are substantially affected by their environment. In addition to effects on piglet behaviour and welfare at the time, the environment causes lifelong effects by modulating the development of behaviour, physiology and cognition (reviewed in Vanheukelom et al, 2012). In this chapter, the focus will be on the first weeks of a piglets’ life, from birth to early post-weaning. The term environment will refer to any influences affecting a piglet from outside: physical factors such as available materials and space, social factors such as the presence of the mother and siblings, as well as interactions between physical and social factors. The main aim of this chapter is to present an overview of the current knowledge on lifelong effects of the early environment. Immediate impacts on piglet behaviour and welfare will also be summarized, and some new questions for future research will be highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Pig Welfare
EditorsMarek Spinka
Number of pages35
Place of Publication[Amsterdam]
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-101012-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-08-101119-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameWoodhead Publishing series in food science, technology and nutrition

Fields of Science

  • 413 Veterinary science
  • pig
  • enrichment
  • behaviour
  • welfare
  • ontogeny

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