Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Whittaker X;Edwards SA;Spoolder HAM;Lawrence AB;Corning S;
Publication Date: January 1, 1999
Reference: , vol. 63: pp. 25-39.


Gestating sows are restricted fed to limit excessive body fat but this results in a sustained level of hunger. Hungry sows remain active and aggression both during feeding and at other times of the day may increase. Hunger is also a cause of stereotypic or pen-directed oral behaviours. This study examined two management methods that could be used to reduce hunger related aggression and pen-directed oral behaviours. The sows were housed in groups of 7 on solid floored pens with ample room (3.7 m2/sow). Five groups were assigned to each of four treatment combinations, representing a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement. Sows were either bedded with straw or not. They were either fed a high fibre diet (including sugar beet pulp), or equivalent energy in a low fibre diet. Feed was dropped into the pen once a day in such a way that it was widely dispersed throughout the lying area. Sows bedded on straw spent more time standing during the 2 hours after feeding, and had higher levels of aggression compared to those without straw. However, the presence of straw reduced the incidence of pen-directed oral behaviour. Thus, straw was beneficial in terms of pen-directed behaviour, but resulted in greater aggression. High fibre diets did not affect aggression when compared to standard diets, but sows on high-fibre diets were less active several hours after feeding and less involved in pen-directed oral behaviour. Both straw and high-fibre diets appear to reduce pen-directed diets, probably through a decrease in hunger, but straw bedding increased the level of aggression in floor fed sows.

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