Research conducted at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Canada, shows that pigs raised in very large groups tend to be less aggressive than those raised in small groups.
In the past ten years the Prairie Swine Centre has carried out many trials looking at the dynamics of group housing including such things as the impact of group size on social behaviour and aggression.
Dr Harold Gonyou, a research scientist in animal behaviour, says pigs seem to learn from their social environment how they should react socially.
Gonyou speculates that somewhere between 50 and 100 pigs per pen is where he starts seeing a difference in the social behaviour of the pig.
In his experience, they become more socially tolerant, less willing to fight if housed in larger groups. Gonyou says this pays off later on when the pigs are mixed during loading and transport to the market.
â€¢ Praire Swine Center
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