Slat Width Study Fills Knowledge Gaps
Improper flooring can lead to a number of leg and foot problems for sows. The second most common reason for culling sows is lameness and it is an even more important issue in group housing since moving around is crucial to access resources like food and maintain the social hierarchy. While lameness is very painful for the sows, producers are also affected due to the decrease in performance. Slatted flooring is the biggest problem, though many systems need this to remove the manure. The most practical way to reduce lameness in barns is to ensure the width of the slats are not too wide. The measurement with the least amount of impact on a sows normal gait is a slat width of 105 mm (around 4 inches) and a gap width of 19 mm (0.75 inches). Cleanliness and air quality were not affected by the decrease in slat size and the animals were much more comfortable, which often leads to a better performance.
Slat Width Study Fills Knowledge Gaps (full article)