Götz, S., Raoult, C. M. C., Reiter, K. et al. 2022. Lying, feeding and activity preference of weaned piglets for LED-illuminated vs. dark pen compartments. Animals 12(2), 202.
Little is known on the effect of light on pig behaviour. The choice behaviour of weaned piglets kept under two different light-emitting diode (LED) illuminance levels was investigated: 32 piglets (in two batches) were housed in a preference test room composed of two identical double pen units. One side of the pen unit was permanently illuminated with 600 lux, while the other was darkened to almost 0 lux (~0 lx); by using a passageway, piglets could move between the two sides. The “lying”, “eating” and “activity” behaviours were evaluated during three days in the first, third and fifth experimental week based on video recordings and a 5-min time sampling method. At first, piglets preferred to stay in the 600 lux illuminated compartments. Then, this preference decreased for the “eating” and “activity” behaviours and reversed for the “lying” behaviour, with the darkened compartments being preferred. The results also show that pen soiling was higher under 600 lux, but feed consumption was not affected by the illuminance. Since pigs choose between the two illuminance levels to perform specific behaviours, illuminance could be used to divide the pens into functional areas and, thus, help in meeting pigs’ behavioural needs.