Benefits of Prepartum Nest-building Behaviour on Parturition and Lactation in Sows - A Review

  • Yun, Jinhyeon (Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki) ;
  • Valros, Anna (Research Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki)
  • Received : 2015.02.27
  • Accepted : 2015.04.25
  • Published : 2015.11.01


It is well known that prepartum sows have an innate motivation to build a nest before parturition. Under commercial conditions, however, the farrowing crate, which is widely used in modern pig husbandry, inhibits this innate behaviour through the lack of space, materials, or both. Thus, restriction of nest-building behaviour could generate increased stress, resulting in a decrease in maternal endogenous hormones. Hence, it could lead to detrimental effects on farrowing and lactating performance. Here we review interactions between prepartum nest-building behaviour, stress and maternal endogenous hormone levels, and discuss their effects on parturition, lactation, and welfare of sows and offspring.


Farrowing Environment;Nest-building;Pig Welfare;Maternal Behaviour;Farrowing Duration;Stillbirths


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