September 2021

A short-term music stimulus can reduce the stress response, whereas a long-term music stimulus can enhance immune responses in pigs.

An enriched environment is widely used to improve domestic animals’ welfare and promote their natural behaviors. Music can reduce abnormal behavior in humans, nonhuman primates, and rodents. However, little is known about the effects of music on pigs. This study aims to explore the effects of repeated music stimulation on the behavior, physiology, and immunity of growing pigs. A total of 72 hybrid piglets (Large White × Duroc × Minipig) were randomly divided into three groups, including music (Mozart K.448, 60 to 70 dB), noise (recorded mechanical noise, 80 to 85 dB), and control (natural background sound,

Compared with the control group, the music group and noise group increased activity but decreased lying of pigs. A significant increase in tail-wagging, playing, and exploring behaviors of pigs was found in the music group, and the noise significantly increased the aggressive behavior of the pigs. Tail-wagging, playing, exploring, manipulating, and aggressive behaviors decreased over time. Short-term (8 d) music stimulus had a lower cortisol level than that of the noise and control groups, whereas long-term (60 d) music stimulus increased immunoglobulin G (IgG), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) levels and decreased interleukin-4 (IL-4) level. Long-term noise stimulus significantly reduced the level of IgG but did not affect the level of IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-γ levels.

In conclusion, short-term music stimulus (8 d) reduced the stress response, whereas long-term music stimulus (60 d) enhanced the immune responses. In addition, the noise increased the aggressive behavior, and long-term noise reduced the immunity of the growing pigs.

Li J, Li X, Liu H, Li J, Han Q, Wang C, Zeng X, Li Y, Ji W, Zhang R, Bao J
Effects of music stimulus on behavior response, cortisol level, and horizontal immunity of growing pigs.
Journal of Animal Science. 2021; 99(5): skab043.