why do pigs eat their own young
This is not a genetic problem or even a breed problem, it is unfortunately more of a newbie problem. You don t see this on many large farms because they understand what causes it. I would expect to find this is 25x s more likely on a hobby farm. The gilt or sow in question is stressed. Any unknown or new event freaks out a gilt. the natural instinct is to go away privately and do her thing. So when a normally free roaming gilt is thrown in a pen or barn and checked on 10 times a day, she freaks out. you would too. The solution is normal. The gilt need to be in her pen far in advance of birthing. quiet and quick feeding. and no noise of distress or feeding from other hogs. in a barn this can be done with a fan that taps a stick and makes a bunch of noise. the gilt will quickly accept this noise and not hear other hogs screaming for feed or water and jump up to see what is going on, thus killing pigs. some people play the radio in a farrowing barn, it all about creating a safe bubble for the gilt, where she is in her own little world. you can cull sows for twenty years and never eliminate this problem, understand it and it will go away for ever.
When I first heardб about this crazy yet fairly common phenomenon of the animal kingdom, I couldn t believe it. I mean, what could be more cruel than a mother eating her own babies! As weird and shocking as it may sound, it does happen and not that infrequently but why? Why do some animals kill and eat their own offspring?
Short answer: Researchers don t know the exact reasons why animals sometimes kill their own babies, but it s generally believed that it might satisfy the energy and nutritional requirements of the parent, make the parent more attractive to potential mates, and help in getting rid of offspring that are sick or take too long to mature. In some cases, animals eat their eggs to protect them from predators. Some animal species, including but not limited to, hamsters, pigs, snakes, birds, primates and even bugs, have a tendency to kill and sometimes eat all or some of their own babies or other youngб members of their group. This phenomenon of killing one s own offspring is known as filial infanticide, and if the parent eats their young ones too, then it becomes filial cannibalism. As shocking and downright gruesome as it may sound, killing yourб own babies to acquire physical and ecological advantages is fairly common in the animal kingdom. БItБs one of the less pleasant aspects of nature, something humans donБt like to think about. Б says Douglas W. Mock, a biology professor at the University of Oklahoma and the author of a book on the subject. БWe assume that other species look at offspring the same way that we look at offspring; to us, it seems as if infanticide must be some sick kind of thing, but it isnБt necessarily. Б Keeping this in mind, letБs take a look at some of the most popular hypotheses as to why certain animals kill their young onesБ When female animals give birth, they must start nursing and caring for their newborns something they can only do if they are already well-nourished and healthy.
So, if a mother bear gives birth to four cubs, two of which are too weak, unhealthy or deformed, then itБs highly likely that she will kill and eat the weaker cubs. This will not only give the mother energy in the form of a calorie boost, but it will also leave her with fewer cubs, whom she can then nurse better and adequately provide for. In some animal species, young ones are killed typically by males so that they have a better chance of fathering new babies by mating with the existing female members of the group. Male lions are quite well known for engaging in this sort of infanticide. The survival of cubs in a lionБs pride depends almost entirely on one or two adult males who father these cubs with female members of the group. If an adult male lion (an outsider to the pride) defeats or somehow ousts the fathers of these cubs, he typicallyб immediately kills the young ones of the pride, especially those that the female lions are nursing. Consequently, the female lions become fertile again and mate with the same male lion who killed their cubs. Male bottlenose dolphins do pretty much the same thing. If he sees a new, unknown female dolphin with a young calf, he will do his best to kill it as soon as possible.
Another hypothesis as to why animals kill their young ones is that they want only the fittest of their babies to live on and pass their healthy genes to future generations. To ensure that, certain creatures kill those babies who do not matureб fast enough or at a normal pace. This sort of selective killing puts evolutionary pressure on the young ones to develop into healthy adults quickly. ( Although males are more commonly known to kill off the young ones in a group, female animals also have a murderous streak for various reasons. For instance, birds and bees living in a joint-nesting social structure are often seen killing the eggs of a co-breeder so that their own eggs have lessб competition for the limited resources at their disposal. Some female fish raid and eat the eggs inside the nests of male fish to increase their own mating opportunities. There may be other reasons too; for instance, the Long-tailed Sun Skink, a species of skink, eats its own eggs in order to protect them from predators. Yeah. think about that one for a moment! These are some of the most popular БhypothesesБ as to why different animal species gobble up their babies. Given what you know now, it should always be rememberedб that this seemingly cold and cruel practice can never be ascribed to a single, universal reason or advantage that applies to every beast in the wild. Infanticide (Zoology) Filial Cannibalism Infanticide
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