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Training Sows & Staff for the Transition from Stall to Pens: The Role of the Human-Animal Interaction

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production by student on July 3, 2018

Author: Thomas D. Parsons

Reference: Banff Pork Seminar Proceedings 2017

Summary: According to Parsons, the greatest challenge when converting to loose sow housing, is the human aspect of the transition. These housing systems reveal when the human-animal interactions are not fully understood or tended to. One essential aspect is training the sows to utilize an electronic sow feeding system.

There have been three characteristics that highlight success in an animal agricultural worker. These characteristics are willingness, capacity and opportunity. In reference to a pen gestation worker each of these characteristics has a unique definition.

Willingness: when looking at loose housing systems, identifying individuals who are malleable and adequately manage change is key. It is beneficial if they are motivated by challenges and embrace change. In some instances it is better if the individuals have no prior experience in a crated gestation facility.

Capacity: with regards to loose housing systems, refers to the skill and knowledge that they have with regards to a sow farm. It is critical to have a proper training program in place to provide technical skills to the workers as well as an opportunity to develop practical experience.

Opportunity: opportunity does not solely pertain to the stock person, however is a reflection of farm level management decisions. This would encapsulate the working conditions, co-worker interactions/actions, organizational policy, staffing requirements, pay scales, and incentives among others.

Training gilts to use systems such as ESF is critical to success of the operation.¬† In this process, human interactions can be the most influential with regards to the success of the gilts. Training and supervision of employee’s will improve the transition from gestation stalls to loose housing systems.

Training Sows & Staff for the Transition

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