Elevated resting bunks for nursing mink dams View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:Chapter     


Chapter Info

DATE

2012

AUTHORS

G. J. Mason , D. Haley , L. Dawson

ABSTRACT

A half-cylinder bunk of wire-mesh was attached to the cage ceiling of 80 dams with litters. Each bunk was 35 cm long, 16.5 cm wide and 10 cm deep, along an adult female to rest in it easily; and placement in the cage was high enough that no kits could climb on or in the bunks before the dam was removed when they were 6 weeks of age (typical weaning age in North America). 80 dams with litters acted as bunk-less controls. Behavioural data were collected daily between kit ages 21 days and weaning (42 days). Kits were weighed at weaning, and post-natal mortalities recorded from their cage records. After weaning, the teats of all dams were inspected for signs of damage or infection. Dams with bunks used them regularly. Consequently, bunk-supplemented dams rested away from their kits more than did nursing dams without bunks. However, compared to bunk-less nursing dams, nursing dams with bunks spent no less time resting with their teats accessible to their kits, and also no less time nursing (a behaviour that was observed in both nest-box and cage). Their time resting away from their kits thus represented enhanced levels of inactivity: compared to standard-housed dams, they spent about 10% more observations resting/sleeping rather than being active. Furthermore, the activity of bunk-supplemented dams also differed qualitatively: when active, bunk-supplemented dams were less likely to be stereotypic. Pacing and head-twirling was thus significantly reduced in bunk dams, both in terms of the proportion of observations devoted to this behaviour, and the proportion of their active time. Furthermore, bunk dams had improved teat health: at weaning, a significantly smaller proportion of enriched nursing females had nipples that were scored as inflamed or crusted with secretions suggestive of mastitis. Despite their mothers’ enhanced abilities to rest away from them, the kits of females with bunks did not seem to be adversely affected: along with nursing and teat availability apparently being adversely affected by the provision of bunks, kit growth rates and kit mortality rates were not significantly different between the two groups (although future research should supplement these data with variables better able to detect stress and frustration in kits). Overall, elevated resting bunks enhanced the health and welfare of dams, with no apparent major ill effects to their kits. More... »

PAGES

492-492

Book

TITLE

Proceedings of the Xth International Scientific Congress in fur animal production

ISBN

978-90-8686-760-8

Author Affiliations

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.3920/978-90-8686-760-8_82

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.3920/978-90-8686-760-8_82

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1045706865


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