Productivity of Sows and Gilts in Various Management Programs with ESF
Numerous consumer groups are advocating for group housing for sows due to the restriction of movement in gestation stalls. Ensuring appropriate feed levels and minimizing aggression can be challenging in group housing. Electronic sow feeders are an option for group housing as it allows one animal to eat at a time and is fed a specific amount that may vary per animal. Two social management options were examined in regard to electronic sow feeders to determine productivity effects. Sow productivity was not affected by dynamic groups. Lower productivity was noted for animals being grouped prior to embryonic implantation compared to sows spending six weeks in stalls after breeding due to a reduced farrowing rate, not poor litter size. Group formation after implantation leads to equal productivity between electronic sow feeder and stalls.