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Optimizing Concrete Slat and Gap Widths for Group-Housed Gestating Sows

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production by student on July 26, 2018

Authors: Laurie Connor, Nicolas Devillers and Qiang Zhang

Reference: Canadian Hog Journal Summer 2018

Summary: Pen flooring is one aspect that is critical for sow management with the transition to group housings. Currently. concrete slatted floors are commonly utilized in sow housing as they allow effective drainage of manure increase they hygiene of the barn. However. slatted floors can also affect they well being of the sows as they affect permeability and thermic properties of the floor. Musculoskeletal issues, such as lameness and hoof an claw injuries are a major reason for culling in group housed sows, these injuries can increase with an increased gap width. There are also negative aspects of too narrow of a gap width, including inability of the manure to pass through the slats. This research focused on the most effective slatted flooring for the comfort and wellbeing of the sow.

Initially, this studied focused on the slat and gap widths that allowed for the least change in the sow gait, for this they utilized nine different flooring configurations. The study then assessed lameness, hoof lesions, weight distribution and postural behavior twice through gestation and recorded videos three times throughout. The study also recorded the performance of the sow in terms of body condition and reproductive performance.

In addition to the implication that the flooring had on the pigs, this study also focused on the implications for pen cleanliness and animal cleanliness.

As a results, this study concluded that wider gap width displaced more alteration in gait parameters. The best flooring design determined by this study was that of a slat width of 105 mm and a gap width of 19mm.

Optimizing Concrete Slat and Gap Widths for Group-Housed Gestating Sows

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