Handled with Care: Research Targets Pig Comfort
Economics often limit the amount of comfort pigs have access to. Space allowance is a big issue for pigs since performance and behaviour are largely affected when there is not enough. Often nursery pigs are given less room due to smaller body size, but this causes animal welfare concerns due to discomfort, stress and crowding. It also negatively impacts average daily gain when allowances are too low on commercial farms. Near the end of the nursery phase, pigs prefer not to engage in overlying behaviour though they sometimes have to depending on pen size. The code’s space allowance of k = 0.0335 is accurate for nursery pigs and should be implemented. There are many choices to make when switching over to group sow housing. Early adopters chose mainly electronic sow feeders (ESFs) as their feeding system of choice since it allows for control over individual feeding and feeds the most sows per square foot. Competitive feeding systems can be difficult to manage and require training for gilts, though they are less expensive. A website that has more information on various aspects of group sow housing is groupsowhousing.com.
Handled with Care – Research Targets Pig Comfort (full article)