The relationship between play and teat order in piglets of Krškopolje breed – A pilot study

Urška KIRN, Manja ZUPAN


The objective of this study was to determine whether teat order affects piglets’ play during lactation. The 11 piglets of Krškopolje breed were observed in a pen with straw. Animals had two additional objects, the ball and the rope. Direct observations lasted 5 weeks, 3 times a week in 2 daily intervals (7.30 am–9.30 am, 11.00 am–1.00 pm) with 15 min of observational periods. Observations of play types (i.e. object -, social -, locomotor play, playing with a sow) started on the 4th day after birth while of teat order, which was determined with the help of photos representing a particular suckling teat, started on the 6th day after birth. Piglets expressed less locomotor play if they were heavier. The ones that were more playful expressed more play with a sow and more object play. Play was higher in the late than early mornings and did not differ across sexes. The most important finding is that play increased with the age irrespective of the teat order.


pigs; breeds; Krškopolje pig; animal behaviour; ethology; play; teat order


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