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IJAFR, Volume 53, number 2, 2014 >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11019/761

Title: Effect of housing on rubber slat mats during pregnancy on the behaviour and welfare of sows in farrowing crates
Authors: Calderon Diaz, J.A.
Boyle, Laura
Keywords: Farrowing crate
Rubber mats
Sow behaviour
Sows
Welfare
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland
Citation: J.A. Calderón Díaz and L.A. Boyle. Effect of housing on rubber slat mats during pregnancy on the behaviour and welfare of sows in farrowing crates. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 2014, 53: 189–197
Series/Report no.: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research;vol 53
Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of flooring type during gestation, lameness and limb lesion scores on welfare and behaviour of sows in farrowing crates. Sixty sows group-housed during gestation in pens with solid concrete floored feeding stalls and a concrete, fully slatted group area either uncovered (CON; n = 30) or covered with 10 mm thick rubber slat mats (RUB; n = 30) were transferred to the farrowing crate at 110d of gestation (-5d). Lameness was scored on -5d and at weaning (28 d postfarrowing). Limb lesions were scored on -5d, 24 h later (-4d), 3 to 5 days post farrowing and at weaning (i.e., day 28 post farrowing). Sows were video recorded for 24 h on -5d, after the last piglet was born (FARROW) and prior to weaning. Videos were sampled every 10 min and an index of the proportion of time spent in different postures (standing [S], ventral [VL] and lateral lying [LL] and total lying) and number of postural changes was calculated. Median scores were calculated for limb lesions and classified as ≤ median or > median. Postural data were tested for normality and analysed using mixed model equations methodology. Flooring during gestation did not affect any of the variables recorded in this study. However, RUB sows tended to make more postural changes than CON sows (P = 0.10). Sows with swelling scores > median spent more time LL (68.9 vs. 63.1 ± 2.19%; P < 0.05) and less time VL (19.9 vs. 25.8 ± 2.27%; P < 0.05) than sows with swelling scores ≤ median. Time spent S and VL decreased and LL increased at FARROW compared to -5d and prior to weaning (P < 0.01). We found no effect of flooring type during gestation on welfare and behaviour in the farrowing crate. Factors such as limb lesions and adaptation to confinement (i.e., time spent inside the farrowing crate) appeared to have a greater influence on sow welfare and behaviour in farrowing crates than the flooring on which they were housed during gestation.
Description: peer-reviewed
This work was administered by Teagasc’s Walsh Fellowship Scheme via funding from Enterprise Ireland and EasyFix™ Rubber Products.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11019/761
ISSN: 0791-6833
Appears in Collections:Pig Development
IJAFR, Volume 53, number 2, 2014

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