Group housing of gestating sows supports production and welfare Essay

Group lodging of conceiving sows supports production and public assistance


In 2013 in the Netherlands an single lodging of pregnant sows from four yearss after insemination until one hebdomad before farrowing was prohibited by EU statute law ( Anonymous, 2008 ) . All husbandmans had to alter their operation strategy to run into the demands of new ordinances. Obviously figure of researches was carried out to provide this determination

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The benefits from group lodging or single lodging were ever contradiction issue ( J.L.Barnettet al. ,2001 ) . The group lodging is more natural for sows and allows them to show their natural behaviour – construct a nest, socially interact with other hogs. Therefore, it has to hold a positive consequence on wellness and public presentation of animate beings. On the other manus, commixture of hogs in group cause an agonistic behaviour and can go a job sing to hurts in group and culling of animate beings as a effect.


The group formation by blending animate beings may take to higher aggression at the first hebdomad of lodging as a consequence of societal ranking constitution in the group ( Karlenet Al. , 2007 ) and subsequently at the feeding competition. But already from the twenty-four hours 2-5 the worsening of the hydrocortisone ( stress index ) concentrations was observed ( Karlenet Al. , 2007, Hemsworthet al. ,2013 ) . That implies that degree of emphasis was lower due to established hierarchy. Furthermore, the aggression tends to diminish at expansion of infinite allowance per sow. Since more infinite becomes available submissive hogs are able to conceal or get away from ruling 1s ( Hemsworthet al. ,2013 ) . Therefore, sing to the group size it is necessary to take into consideration an optimum infinite allowance per sow. Nevertheless, research of Hemsworth et Al. ( 2013 ) besides indicates that one time societal ranking is established, the infinite per sow in group may be reduced. In add-on, Mount and Seabrook ( 1993 ) suggest that aggressiveness may be contemplation of sow personality. Therefore, more research needed to concretize this suggestion which can be utile in sows’ choice.

The stereotypies – destructive behaviours – are besides reflecting the public assistance of hogs. This sort of behaviour is related to emphasize state of affairss, which animal can non get by with. It besides arises because of ennui and frustrating in animate beings. Chapinal et Al. ( 2010 ) in their research established a fact that sows antecedently kept in stables still show stereotyped behaviour in group lodging state of affairs but it is observed in smaller extent which can be considered as an betterment in the public assistance of sows.

Establishing hierarchy or contending for nutrient every bit good as get awaying from attackers may take to hurts ( Turneret Al. , 2006, Karlenet Al. , 2007 ) . Happening of skin hurts reveals the aggression degree presented in the group. Relatively little size of groups may diminish the violative behaviour and therefore skin hurts frequence besides ( Hemsworthet al. ,2013 ) . Introduction of new animate being in group consequences in addition of aggression and, hence, limping and claw hurts. Number of tegument and claw hurts is in general higher in groups where sows are invariably assorted with new animate beings.

The emphasis caused by relentless aggression in group can negatively impact the reproduction public presentation of sows and development of embryo’s caused by unfavourable oviductal environment ( Razdan et al. , 2002 ) . Particularly, that becomes important while maintaining sows together after insemination. Housing sow in crates during the gestation period was criticized by public. The chief job aspects depicting this system were that animate beings do non hold any societal interaction and are restricted in exercising which causes them emphasis. Harmonizing to Barnett and Hemsworth ( 1991 ) from 15 researches they studied, 8 appeared to demo better reproduction public presentation under group lodging conditions, the same clip 4 of them showed better reproduction while sows were kept separately. In the survey of Hansen and Kongsted ( 2002 ) group-housed sows characterized by really high litter size which can be accepted as an statement that group lodging does non ever lead to hapless reproduction qualities. On the other manus research carried out in Australia in 1999 by Agribiz Engineering showed that figure of piggies born alive by stall-housed sow was significantly higher.

There is besides grounds that the lodging of sows during gestation period has consequence on their public presentation when they are kept in piging crates subsequently. In the survey of L.A. Boyleet Al( 2002 ) it is found that antecedently free housed sows needed significantly less efforts to accommodate and lie down in crates than sows used to restrict lodging. Therefore, it is likely that free housed sows developed sufficient fittingness during their loose lodging before being transferred to piging crates. That besides led to lower lesion tonss in loose housed sows. However, at the birth the loose housed sows experienced more troubles with lying down which resulted in higher lesion tonss and might do a piggy suppression ( Baxter, 1984 ) . It can be explained by more distinguishable look of natural behaviour of nest physique before piging developed during loose lodging of sows.

Besides this survey showed lower limping at the late phase of gestation period among sows kept on deep litter in comparison with stall-housed sows. That could be explained by deep littler bedding type and ability to travel in the group pen in comparison with stall-housed sows which were non able to walk and therefore it was likely more hard to place the limping in standing animate beings. Additionally, the straw bedclothes has diminishing consequence on limping happening ( Svendsen, Al. , 1992 ) .

Interesting fact is that maintaining hogs in the specific-stress-free ( SSF ) lodging system when the emphasis is minimized by non transporting animate beings to other location or remixing groups has a positive consequence on public assistance and production of animate beings ( Ekkelet al. , 1995 ) . It besides means that supplying all proper conditions required by hogs will decrease emphasis and, as a effect, diminish the agonistic behaviour in groups.


J.L. Barnettet Al( 2001 ) stated in the reappraisal of that job that “it is the design of the lodging system that is of import to welfare instead than the lodging systemper Se” . Sum uping all, the group lodging as it was expected does hold advantages every bit good as disadvantages. Such system affects sows positively in natural facet ; animate beings begin to show their natural behaviour which supports one of facets of animate being public assistance construct. But as it was mentioned in the treatment this issue stays controversial. Disadvantages of the group lodging besides have to be taken into history. The facts of treatment advise to see seeking for a via media between group lodging and stall lodging. More research needs to be done to find which lodging type and on which phases of coupling and gestation periods it could be applied so that it will be good for sow’s wellness and its reproduction public presentation. Refering the aggression in groups, larger infinite allowance per sow should be considered for decreasing of this type of behaviour at least at the beginning when the establishing of hierarchy takes topographic point. There is no consentaneous sentiment about positive consequence of group lodging on generative public presentation of sow, but some important consequences demonstrate that there is a relation which can non be ignored.

Therefore, pregnant sows can be group housed and it has its benefits, but for that farmer/stakeholder has to supply proper lodging conditions and respond on demands of the group quickly. This can be reached by prosecuting professionals with scientific background in determination devising procedure.


  • Anonymous, 2008

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