The use of a lesion score as an indicator for agonistic behaviour in pigs
The aim of the present study was to analyse whether a lesion score approach could be used as an indicator for agonistic behaviour in pigs. Behavioural patterns were observed directly after weaning (PIG-28, n=827), 40 days later (growing pigs, PIG-68, n=292) and immediately after mixing gilts (GILTS, n=344), over a 48 h period. For the front, middle and rear part of the body the extent of skin injuries was assessed with a lesion score (LS). The LS ranked from 0 (no wounds) to 4 (many, deep wounds) and was determined at the beginning (LSstart) and at the end (LSend) of the observation period. In all groups, the front body third was mostly stressed by fighting interactions. The highest correlations were found between the front LS and the overall fight time, with r=0.50 (PIG-28), r=0.52 (PIG-68) and r=0.48 (GILTS). The LS for the front area did not increase for 26 % (PIG-28), 39 % (PIG-68) and 40 % (GILTS) of the animals. According to this, the applied LS approach only reflected the agonistic behaviour of pigs to a certain extent.