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Tail biting and feather pecking

using genomics and ethology to explore motivational backgrounds

Brunberg, Emma (2011). Tail biting and feather pecking. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala Sweden : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2011:76
ISBN 978-91-576-7620-7
[Doctoral thesis]

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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.



It is well known that abnormal animal behaviour is affected by both environment and genetics. This thesis aimed to use behavioural observations as well as gene expression
measurements to explore how animals that perform and receive tail biting (pigs) and feather pecking (laying hens) differ from individuals that are not involved in these

In study I, the results suggested that tail biting is related to other abnormal behaviours. Pigs performing a high frequency of tail biting focused on abnormal
behaviours that included oral manipulation (such as ear and bar biting), whereas those performing less tail biting showed a wider variety of different abnormal behaviours. In
study II and III, many genes were differently expressed when neutral pigs were compared with tail biters and receivers, all housed in the same pen, as well as when
compared to control pigs housed in a pen with no tail biting. This suggests that the neutral pigs had a phenotype that made them somewhat resistant towards performing and receiving tail biting. Behavioural data, in combination with information on the functions of these differently expressed genes, indicated that this difference in behaviour was due to the neutral pigs being less pig directed in their behaviour. The focus on pigs which remain neutral in the outbreak is a new approach in tail biting
studies. The gene expression data further suggested that selection for production may unintentionally have created pigs that perform and receive more pig-directed abnormal
behaviour. In study IV, the functions of many of the 16 genes differently expressed between feather pecking hens, victims and control birds, support earlier hypotheses about feather pecking being linked to nutrition/feeding and immune mechanisms.

In summary, this thesis provides both behavioural characteristics and lists of genes that strengthen earlier reported results as well as give new suggestions about the biological mechanisms underlying tail biting and feather pecking behaviour.

Authors/Creators:Brunberg, Emma
Title:Tail biting and feather pecking
Subtitle:using genomics and ethology to explore motivational backgrounds
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2011
Number of Pages:82
I.Brunberg, E., Wallenbeck, A. & Keeling, L.J (2011). Tail biting in fattening pigs: Associations between frequency of tail biting and other abnormal behaviours. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 133, 18-25.
II.Brunberg, E., Jensen, P., Isaksson, A. & Keeling, L.J. Brain gene expression differences are associated with abnormal tail biting behavior in pigs. Manuscript.
III.Brunberg, E., Jensen, P., Isaksson, A. & Keeling, L.J. Behaviour
IV.Brunberg, E., Jensen, P., Isaksson, A. & Keeling, L. (2011). Feather pecking behavior in laying hens: Hypothalamic gene expression in birds performing and receiving pecks. Poultry Science 90, 1145-1152. Papers I and IV are reproduced with the permission of the publishers.
Place of Publication:Uppsala Sweden
Publisher:Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7620-7
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L10 Animal genetics and breeding
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Behavioural Sciences Biology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 404 Agricultural Biotechnology > Genetics and Breeding
Agrovoc terms:swine, poultry, behaviour, animal health, genes
Keywords:pig, poultry, tail biting, feather pecking, abnormal behaviour, animal welfare, genetics, gene expression
Permanent URL:
ID Code:8319
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: Emma Brunberg
Deposited On:13 Sep 2011 10:19
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:47

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