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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): F. Brouns, and S.A. Edwards
Publication Date: May 23, 1994
Reference: Applied Animal Behaviour Science 39 (1994) 225-235
Country: United Kingdom


When housed in groups, it is common for an hierarchy to be established between sows. If the feeding regime is to floor feed a set amount of feed 1-2 times per day, then less dominant sows may not be able to obtain a fair amount or feed. In this case, the less dominant sows may not gain as much weight. This study tested the effect of a high fiber feed being given ad libitum on sow weight gain. First, the hierarchy of the group was determined by setting food in the middle of dyads of sows, and seeing with sow was dominant. Hierarchy was found to be close to linear, so each so was given a ranking. Active and passive interactions, and feeding behaviors were also recorded. In floor-fed groups sows that were low-ranking gained less weight than the high ranking sows in the same group. However, there was not a clear relation between weight gain and hierarchy rank overall. For the ad libitum groups, sows preferred to feed independently, and there was no difference in time spent feeding or length of a feeding bout between sow rankings. This indicates dominance is less important in an ad libitum feeding situation, but might be a disadvantage to low-ranking sows when floor-fed.

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