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Hoop housing for feeder pigs offers a welfare-friendly environment compared to a nonbedded confinement system

By D. C. Lay, M. F. Haussmann, M. J. Daniels

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Abstract

A nonbedded confinement system (NBCS) was compared with hoop structures (Hoop) for housing of feeder pigs. The Hoop is an inexpensive alternative to the total confinement system. Open-ended Quonsets shaped like a half cylinder lying on its flat side, the Hoop use bedding to keep the pigs dry and allow this bedding to compost beneath the pigs to keep them warm in winter. Two experiments in Iowa (USA), one in the winter and one in the summer, assessed the welfare of pigs based on the incidence of aberrant behaviour, physiological response to handling, incidence of lameness and the performance of play behaviour. Pigs raised in the NBCS performed more aberrant behaviours and less play behaviour, had greater plasma cortisol in response to handling (but fewer vocalizations), and a greater incidence of injuries than did the pigs raised in the Hoop. Based on these data, pigs in the Hoop were adjudged to have enhanced welfare as compared to pigs raised in the NBCS.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 33-48
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705 (Print), 1532-7604 (Online)
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0301_4
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, 2356 Kildee Hall, Ames, IA 50011-3150, USA.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal husbandry
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animals
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  8. Mammals
  9. Meat animals
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. piggeries
  12. pig housing
  13. Pigs
  14. sties
  15. Suiformes
  16. Swine
  17. ungulates
  18. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed