Comparison of vocalization patterns in piglets which were crushed to those which underwent human restraint

Nichole M. Chapel, Jeffrey R. Lucas, Scott Radcliffe, Kara R. Stewart, Donald C. Lay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Though many studies focused on piglet crushing utilizing piglet vocalizations to test sow response, none have verified the properties of test vocalizations against actual crushing events. Ten sows were observed 48 h after parturition, and crushing events were recorded from all sows. When a crushing event occurred, a second piglet within the same litter was used to solicit a vocalization through manual restraint to compare restrained piglets’ call properties to those of crushed piglets’. A total of 659 Restrained calls and 631 Crushed calls were collected. Variables were gathered at the loudest point in a call, and as an average across the entire call. Crushed piglets had a lower fundamental frequency (p < 0.01; Crushed: 523.57 ± 210.6 Hz; Restrained: 1214.86 ± 203.2 Hz) and narrower bandwidth (p < 0.01; Crushed: 4897.01 ± 587.3 Hz; Restrained: 6674.99 ± 574.0 Hz) when analyzed at the loudest portion of a call. Overall, piglets which were crushed had a lower mean peak frequency than those which were restrained (p = 0.01; 1497.08 ± 239.4 Hz and 2566.12 ± 235.0 Hz, respectively). Future research should focus on measuring sow reactivity to Crushed and Restrained piglets to continue to improve research practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Piglet crushing
  • Sow-piglet communication
  • Swine vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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