Determining Effective Enrichments for Group Housed Sows
Providing enrichment improves biological functioning and the well-being of animals. For pigs reared in Canada, this is now a requirement. It promotes positive social behaviour and is an outlet for their highly motivated exploratory behaviour. Adverse behaviours, stereotypic behaviours and aggression levels are increased in environments without enrichment. Sows may also be more fit at farrowing which may shorten birthing intervals and have fewer laid-on piglets. Interaction was high on day one, then continued to decrease due to habituation. The horizontal wood swing was removed due to safety concerns. Ranking from safety, durability and sow attractiveness ratings with the highest first are: straw on the floor, straw in a rack, three-item enrichment and then a block of wood.
Determining Effective Enrichments for Group Housed Sows (full article)