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CONSIDERATION OF PIGLET BEHAVIOR MAY ALLOW ALTERATIONS IN SOW HOUSING TO INCREASE BOTH PIGLET AND SOW WELFARE
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: No Citation available.
Authors: M. F. Haussmann, M. J. Daniels, D. C. Lay Jr.
Keywords: piglet, crushing, welfare
One of the major challenges in swine production is to create a housing environment for farrowing that will aid the sow in preventing piglet crushing. Therefore, we designed a simulated udder that could compete with the sow’s udder to try and move piglets to a “safe” area away from the sow. Yorkshire x Landrace sows and their litters were assigned to either the control group (C) or the experimental group (SU). The simulated udder was designed simply, using a pillow case, pillow, heating pad, two water bottles, and a cloth wrap that had been placed around the sow for two days prior to farrowing to transfer her odor (Exp. 1). This experiment was then repeated using the same paradigm with a cloth wrap that had a fuzzy texture (Exp. 2). Data were collected for the 3 day duration immediately following farrowing. When the sow stood, data was recorded to quantify the number of the pigs in the litter that were in the safe area compared to those in the area around the sow. Results for Exp. 1, indicate that from 12 to 72 hours post-partum (excluding the 24 to 26 hour period) the estimated probability that piglets were in the safe area was .89 for SU piglets compared to only .72 for C piglets ( P = .005). Exp. 2 produced opposite results indicating that the pigs were more likely to be found under the heat lamp (P < .001). These findings indicate pigs have a definite preference for the area in which they lie and that altering sow housing design in conjunction with consideration for piglet behavior may allow for an increase in both sow and piglet welfare.
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