Newborn piglets were removed from their dam and their responses to a variety of sensory stimuli were tested in four experiments. Test stimuli were presented simultaneously in multiple-choice arenas. Piglets allowed to choose among recordings of sow vocalizations, piglet vocalizations or white noise in a 5-min test spent more time in proximity to vocalizations of sows and piglets than near white noise. This was significant for males (P less than .01) but not for females. Piglets choosing among illumination levels (bright, dim or dark) in a 5-min test showed a strong preference for either dim or dark areas over bright light (P less than .01), with no difference between attractivity of dim and dark areas. Piglets choosing among birth fluids, sow's milk or tap water during a 5-min test spent more time with maternal odors than with water (P less than .05). No difference in attractivity between birth fluids and sow's milk was apparent. Preferences of piglets to move either with or against the direction of hair growth were tested using the mid-back area of the sow as a test surface. Piglets moved with the direction of hair growth twice as often as against the growth of hair (P less than .01). Results of these experiments indicate that piglets can discriminate among auditory, olfactory, visual and tactile stimuli immediately after birth.
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