Farmscape for February 8, 2017
The Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork says a successful transition from conventional to group sow housing requires the right facilities and the right people.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and pork industry stakeholders is developing options and strategies to assists pork producers in converting from conventional housing of gestating sows to group housing.
Mark Fynn, the Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork, says we have a number of producers that have already gone through the conversion and a lot more that are keen to learn more about it so they can implement a system that will work well right off the hop.
Clip-Mark Fynn-Manitoba Pork:
The major considerations in building group housing systems are making sure you're providing the appropriate space for the animal.
That's both the amount of space allowance they're given as well as how you lay out the pens so you have the right features in the right places.
Also making sure you have good flooring for the sows in there.
All loose housing systems are going to deal with some forms of hierarchy related aggression so you want to make sure they have good footing to be able to establish that and get over it.
The last thing and probably the most important thing is having the right people in the barn to work with those animals and having the management and the personnel in place that want to see success in the system and the drive to get there.
When you don't have those things in place, you don't set up the pen well the first time, you try and put too many pigs in the pen or you have poor flooring that ends up causing injuries and that sort of thing or people that just don't buy into the system and have the wrong attitude going in, that really doesn't work well for group housing.
Fynn notes the Canadian industry is committed to moving all sow barns to group housing.
For more information visit the National Sow Housing Conversion Project website at groupsowhousing.com.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork