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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 174-181 in Swine Housings II Proceedings of the 12-15 October 2003 Conference (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina USA), Publication Date 12 October 2003.  701P1303.(doi:10.13031/2013.15484)
Authors:   I. Vermeij, A. I. J. Hoofs, J. Enting, H. Hopster, and E.W. Ruesink
Keywords:   Two-level pen, Total floor area, Solid floor area, Welfare

In response to the Dutch Pig Welfare Regulations, research was carried out aiming at evaluating the extension of the total floor area in existing pig houses to 1.0 m2 per fattening pig by adding a second floor, a platform, to a pig pen. Through the second floor, the solid floor area was increased to 0.6 m2 per pig. The study has been carried out during two batches in two rooms at an experimental farm (27% of total floor space available on platform, synthetic flooring). The use and the accessibility of the platform were video taped and analysed. Additional observations were made at a commercial pig farm, which has concrete flooring and 33% of total floor space available on platform.

At the experimental farm, the use of the platform increased as the fattening pigs grew. On average, 20% of the pigs were present on the upper level. According to the criteria that were determined beforehand, enough pigs were present on the upper level. The ramp with a slope of 28 to reach the upper level functioned well. Of all pigs, 95% was observed at least once on the upper level. There was no signs that the design of the pen influenced the health of the pigs, such as leg problems.

A two-level pen for fattening pigs is a well functioning housing system that is adequately used as living space by the pigs. Individual pigs had no obstructions to visit the platform. Flooring material, ventilation system, and outdoor temperatures seem to have an influence on the use of the platform. (Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)