Farmscape for November 30, 2018
A research scientist with the Prairie Swine Center says the choice of feeding system is the primary factor that will dictate the management of sows in loose housing.
On behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, in response to requirements for pork producers to move to loose housing of sows, scientists have been examining the social interactions of group housed sows.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, observes the move to group housing has heightened the importance of understanding aggression when grouping sows.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Center:
Primarily a producer needs to decide what kind of feeding system they'll use and then based on that feeding system it will dictate the structure of the group.
With competitive feeding systems like floor feeding and shoulder stalls, those sows will be managed in smaller groups, so a small group dynamic.
Those small groups have a larger space requirement so that they can actually avoid aggression in a small group area.
Where as with the other feeding systems, some of these automated electronic feeding systems or what we call ESF or free access ESF, there's a few different varieties of those on the market, they certainly limit that feeding aggression among sows but then there's still competition among those sows for accessing the feeders and then also in those automated feeding systems you have the potential for having multiple feeders per group, so larger groups sizes and potentially dynamic mixing where you're moving sows in and out of groups.
Depending on your feeding system there can be different guidelines around your group size and then how to manage those sows.
Dr. Brown encourages anyone looking for more information on the move to loose sow housing to visit groupsowhousing.com.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork