Forty-one sows and litters were utilized in a multi-disciplinary evaluation of four common commercial housing systems for sows and piglets: (1) a standard crate (SC); (2) a modified or turnaround crate (TC); (3) a pen with an indoor and outdoor area (OP); (4) a straw-bedded hut on a lot (HL). HL litters had a higher incidence of still-births than OP litters. Litters raised in HL had higher mortality and weaned fewer and lighter pigs. Litters in TC had lower mortality than SC litters. Sow behaviour data (such as sow feeding time) parallelled productivity data (number of piglets weaned). Sows who spent more time chewing at the bars before farrowing had larger litter sizes. Sows who were less active (that is, moved while standing) pre-farrowing weaned more piglets. Sows who spent more time feeding weaned more pigs. Immunological data indicated that piglets in OP had higher white blood cell numbers and piglets in HL had lower antigen-induced blood antibody titres.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Dep. Anim. Sci., Tech. Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409, USA.|
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