calendar icon 11 December 2018
clock icon 2 minute read

Stress is a condition which occurs in all pigs when confronted with adverse management and environments. Better management of the environment has a beneficial effect on the health and the biological efficiency of the pig.

What does the pig do when stressed?

  • It increases the leucocytes in the blood.
  • It increases output of hormones (cortisol) from the adrenal gland and this depresses immunity.
  • It becomes more susceptible to disease.
  • It eats and drinks less.
  • The growth rate and feed efficiency get worse for a period.
  • It requires an increase in environmental temperature.

Major factors that may cause stress

  • Shortage of water supply.
  • Shortage of trough space.
  • Excessive stocking density.
  • Low, high or variable temperatures.
  • Draughts.
  • Movement, mixing, fighting.
  • Verbal or physical abuse.
  • Poor light.
  • Low levels of selenium or vitamin E may increase the susceptibility to stress.
  • High levels of vitamin A.
  • Inadequate or poor nutrition.
  • The act of farrowing or weaning.
  • Transport.
  • Changes in the environment e.g. changes in housing.
  • Exposure to disease.

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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