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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.

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Author(s): K. Scott, D.J. Chennells, F.M. Campbell, B. Hunt, D. Armstrong, L. Taylor, B.P. Gill, S.A. Edwards
Publication Date: January 26, 2006
Reference: Livestock Science 103 (2006) 104– 115
Country: United Kingdom


It is generally perceived that pigs in straw bedding are experiencing a more welfare friendly environment. This paper sets out to determine if there are actual welfare benefits to straw bedding vs fully slated pens. Over 3 years using 1028 pigs researchers conducted four tests (2 in summer periods and 2 in winter periods) in which pigs were either put in fully slated rooms or straw-bedded rooms. Health records were kept to see if pigs became visibly ill or suffered from respiratory issues. Other factors that pigs were check for were body damage, hygiene, behavior, foot damage, measurements at slaughter, lung and cardiac lesions and gastric ulceration. The study also incorporated wet and dry feeding variations. The results of the study found little difference in several categories including mortality (health records), body damage, hygiene, and time spent eating and drinking. There were differences observed in specific health issues such as foot damage, toe damage was worse in straw while sole and heel damage was worse in fully slated rooms. Large difference were found in respiratory diseases which were high in straw bedded pens. Fully slated pens saw increases in tail biting, assumed to be because with no straw to root around in pigs began to investigate other pigs. Lameness was significantly treated more in fully slated pens. Overall days lost to treatment were 631 for fully slated pens and  904 for straw beds. Both systems hold benefits over the other, and also have short comings. This paper exposes the draw backs for potential improvement in either system.


To view this complete article please visit: http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/livsci/

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