Farmscape for November 21, 2014
Research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc will help determine the optimum amount of space required to maximize the productivity of nursery pigs.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists are working to establish a precise minimum space allowance for nursery pigs that will provide an optimal balance between profitability and animal welfare.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a research scientist ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre explains, when Canada's new Pig Code of Practice was being developed scientists looked at existing space allowance research, but while there is a lot data on grow finish pigs, very little research has been done on the effects of space allowance in the nursery.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
Certainly we recognize that nursery pigs might not require as much space as grow finish pigs because they are much more willing to over lie, lie on top of each other, where as once animals leave the nursery and they're a little big bigger you don't see that kind of behavior, so it's common practice to have nursery pigs under a lower space allowance per body weight however we're not sure if that's good for them so this study is to basically explore that.
We're looking at some studies at the Prairie Swine Centre and at a couple of commercial sites, looking at 5 different space allowances and then we'll be looking at their effects on the average daily gain of these pigs, also looking at their immunity so if they're under stress and their immunity is compromised we'll be able to assess that and then also looking at their behavior and lesions and any aggression between the individuals so basically their welfare in this situation.
Then that information will hopefully be able to go into future codes and to firm up our ideas around space allowance required by nursery pigs.
Dr. Brown says if we determine nursery pigs do require more space that will need to be considered in new codes of practice which will mean increased costs for industry.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council