The influence of an alternative housing system on behaviour and productivity of sows, piglets and weaners

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Veltmeyer, Natalie Ann

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Alternative housing systems have been developed to improve well-being of swine without reducing their productivity. Four experiments were conducted to compare housing systems for sows and weaners. No significant differences (P>0.05) in production were found between the studied housing systems. Sows in ellipsoid and Farrownest systems showed less pre-partum bar-biting than sows in rectangular systems (P<0.05). Less pre-partum dog-sitting (P<0.05) was observed in ellipsoid than in rectangular systems. During the first two days post-partum piglets in ellipsoid and Farrownest systems spent more time lying near the udder of the sow (P<0.05). Weaners tend to spend more time lying under the heat source in the Nuertingen kennel system than in the flatdeck system during week one (P<0.13) and significantly more in week two (P<0.01). Behaviour was not significantly different between top and floor heated kennel systems. Alternative housing systems in this series of experiments provided a more complex environment for pigs, and likely improved well-being, without compromising production.

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Keywords

alternative housing systems, well-being, swine, productivity, sows, weaners

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