Prairie Swine Centre

 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): Dr. Harold Gonyou
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Reference: Proceedings of the 2004 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
Country: Canada


Gestation stalls are under a lot of pressure from the public. The object of animal welfare came about some 200 years ago and has been reviewed and restructured to the Five Freedoms that exist today. These include freedom from hunger, thirst, malnutrition, discomfort, pain, injury, disease, fear, distress, freedom to express normal behaviour by sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of its own species. The Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants created an animal welfare program in 2001, which addresses pregnant sows and housing systems. Dr. Harold Gonyou believes that five issues for gestating sows include freedom of movement, freedom from aggression, control over individual feed intake, environmental enrichment, and static space. Sows housed in stalls without adequate movement shows a longer time to farrow and a decrease in bone and muscle mass. This results in a higher cull rate due to lameness. For freedom from aggression, sows that are group housed do in fact get scratches, but they heal quicker than stalled animals that get abrasions. If sows are regrouped after implantation (about 35 days post-breeding), their farrowing rates are similar to stalled sows. Gestation stalls fail to provide adequate control over each sows individual feed intake due to the way in which the feed systems are designed. Environmental enrichment involves material that the sow is able to play and move around with. Straw is a good example, because it can be used for bedding and other alternatives. Different sized stalls are required for different sized sows to satisfy their static space. In conclusion, there are alternative methods that could address most, if not all, of these problems proposed with gestation stalls.

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