Current research and/or projects

I'm a research scientist specialised in pig behaviour and welfare. In the last years, my research has mainly focused on the impact of housing and management, including human-animal relationship, on maternal behaviour of lactating sows and social and cognitive development of piglets. I've also worked on the developement of methods for the assessement of welfare of sows and piglets. More recently, I started a research program on alternative production systems, such as pasture-based systems.

Research and/or project statements

Analysis of alternative integrated crop/livestock production systems using life cycle assessment

  • Model integrated agro-ecological crop/livestock production systems to determine their environmental efficiency, as well as potential levers for improvement, using a life cycle analysis from farm to fork.
  • Evaluate the efficiency of these alternative production systems and networks by socio-economic analysis at the farm level, but also downstream by considering the processing, transport, storage and distribution of food products.

Potential of outdoor systems as an alternative to pork conventional production:

  • Survey of economic and technical characteristics of alternative swine production systems
  • Gestating sow preferences for fresh and dry forages
  • Value of fresh or dry forage in the feeding of outdoor gestating sows
  • Sow preference based on forage conservation mode
  • Impact of different types of farrowing huts on the behaviour and performance of sows and their piglets at pasture
  • Strategies for managing high temperature at pasture

Impact of early experience with humans on the human-animal relationship in piglets

  • Development of behavioural tests to assess human reactivity of piglets and a conditioning protocol to associate humans with positive or negative stimuli
  • Process of human recognition and generalization in piglets following positive and/or negative conditioning
  • Emotions and cognitive bias in weaned piglets as a result of human experience

Professional activities / interests

  • Ethology / Animal behaviour
  • Swine
  • Alternative production systems
  • Animal welfare
  • Maternal behaviour

Key publications

  1. 2018 - View publication details

  2. 2018 - View publication details

  3. Brajon, S., Ringgenberg, N., Torrey, S., Bergeron, R., Devillers, N. (2017). Impact of prenatal stress and environmental enrichment prior to weaning on activity and social behaviour of piglets (Sus scrofa), 197 15-23.

    2017 - View publication details

  4. Aubé L., Guay F., Bergeron R., Bélanger G., Tremblay G., Devillers N. 2018. Sows' preferences for different fresh and dry mixed forages. 13th North-American regional meeting of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 12-13 May 2017, p.37.

    2017 - View publication details

  5. Devillers, N., Delijani, F., Janvier, E., Méthot, S., Dick, K., Zhang, Q., and Connor, L. (2016). "Impact of slat and gap widths of concrete slatted floor on sow gait using kinematics.", Banff Pork Seminar 2016, Banff, AB, Canada, January 12-14, 2016.

    2016 - View publication details

  6. Brajon, S., Ringgenberg, N., Torrey, S., Bergeron, R., and Devillers, N. (2016). "Effects of prenatal stress and postnatal enrichment on exploration and social behaviour of suckling piglets.", 50th congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Edinburgh, UK, 12-16 July, 2016, pp. 196. (Abstract)

    2016 - View publication details

  7. Dalla Costa, F.A., Devillers, N., Paranhos da Costa, M.J.R., Faucitano, L. (2016). Effects of applying preslaughter feed withdrawal at the abattoir on behaviour, blood parameters and meat quality in pigs, 119 89-94.

    2016 - View publication details

  8. Brajon, S., Laforest, J.P., Schmitt, O., Devillers, N. (2016). A preliminary study of the effects of individual response to challenge tests and stress induced by humans on learning performance of weaned piglets (Sus scrofa), 129 27-36.

    2016 - View publication details

  9. Devillers, N., Giraud, D., Farmer, C. (2016). Neonatal piglets are able to differentiate more productive from less productive teats, 174 24-31.

    2016 - View publication details

  10. Brajon, S., LaForest, J.-P., Schmitt, O., and Devillers, N. (2015). "Positive contact with humans can improve learning performance and emotional states of animals: a study in piglets.", International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) 2015 conference, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA, July 7- 9, 2015.

    2015 - View publication details


International Society for Applied Ethology

Société Québécoise pour l'Étude Biologique du Comportement

Adjunct Professor, Département des Sciences Animales, Université Laval (QC)

Adjunct Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba (MB)

Adjunct Professor, Department of Environment and Geography, Bishop's University (QC)