Farmscape for March 19, 2021
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc shows the effects of long versus short duration transport of weaner pigs are different but equal.
As part of research being conducted in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, scientists with the University of Guelph and the Prairie Swine Center are working with commercial transporters in eastern and western Canada to compare the effects of long versus short duration transport on newly weaned piglets.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says scientists compared a range of physiological and behavioral measures from short and long trips.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Center:
So far, we've analyzed all the physiological measures and didn't really find anything of major note there.
I think the weaning timeline of the two treatments was slightly different and I think that probably explained more of the differences that we saw than the actual transport itself.
We did see some slight changes in the measures of dehydration in the pigs.
Long duration pigs were transported for over 30 hours so they did show some measures indicating a slight dehydration but, again these weren't outside of the normal range that we would normally see for weaner pigs so it wasn't a major concern.
We also looked at death losses and didn't see difference in those measures.
So thus far the long transport does look quite reasonable in comparison to the short transport.
The shorter transport was roughly 90 minutes and that causes an acute stress response in the pigs whereas the longer transport, they have time to settle down on the trailer.
So, there are some differences but nothing really to raise any concerns about the longer transport.
Dr. Brown says researchers are still assessing the behavioral measures to see if they provide further indications of the impact of transport on piglet welfare and similar comparison are planned for the winter months.
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