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Pork Producers Pleased with Moves to Group Sow Housing
Dr. Jennifer Brown - Prairie Swine Centre

Farmscape for July 17, 2018

A Research Scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre says those who have made the switch from stall housing of gestating sows to group housing have been generally pleased with the change.
In response to changes to Canada's Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, which calls on pork producers to move from stall housing of gestating sows to group housing by 2024 scientists working in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc have been tracking and documenting barn conversions to provide information that can be used by producers considering the change.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says those who have made the change are finding the sows in these systems are relaxed and easy to work with and it's more interesting because you can notice more of the individual differences and behaviors of the sows.

Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
One thing that we've seen that is very consistent across the board is that producers are very happy with the systems.
You go into a free access or an ESF barn, it's very quiet.
The sows are easier to manage.
They're used to walking around so people often note that they're easier to get into a farrowing pen because they're more comfortable to walk down the hallway and to walk into a farrowing crate than they would be if they spent their gestation in a stall.
The sows are very calm if you have your feeding system set up properly.
Everyone knows their place in the social hierarchy so mixing pens was another discussion that we had about, how do we form groups.
That's another important area to get right when you're using these systems, so the training and the mixing but once you've got those working properly people seem very happy with these systems.

Dr. Brown is hopeful these changes will bring some younger people into the pork sector because we have barns now with new technologies that allow for more animal interactions.
She sees this as very positive for both staff and animals.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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