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The welfare of finishing pigs under different housing and feeding systems: liquid versus dry feeding in fully-slatted and straw-based housing

By K. Scott, D. J. Chennells, D. Armstrong, L. Taylor, B. P. Gill, S. A. Edwards

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This study assessed the health and welfare implications of feeding pigs a dry or liquid diet when housed in either fully-slatted or straw-based accommodation. Between April and October 2002, 1024 (Large White x Landrace) x Large White pigs, housed in pens of 32, were fed ad libitum from 34 kg to slaughter at 104 kg liveweight. Data were collected on a range of welfare parameters. Feeding system affected only respiratory health losses. Lameness and tail-biting tended to be more prevalent health conditions in the fully-slatted system, while in the straw-based system pigs showed significantly more enteric and respiratory disease. There were no significant treatment effects on skin lesions or bursitis of the hock. Liquid fed pigs had poorer hygiene scores than dry fed pigs, especially in straw-based housing. Liquid feeding reduced activity level and investigatory behaviours directed towards other pigs. Pigs with straw spent a large proportion of their time manipulating it. Pigs without straw were less active and spent more time manipulating the pen hardware. In post-slaughter assessments, there were no systems differences in lung lesions or osteochondrosis, but other measures differed between housing or feeding systems; pigs with straw had more severe toe erosions on the foot, while pigs without straw had more severe heel erosions. Gastric lesions were more pronounced with dry feeding and in the fully-slatted system. The results highlight the relative health and welfare advantages and disadvantages of these systems for finishing pigs.

Date 2007
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 53-62
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tune, NE1 7RU, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal diseases
  2. Animal genetics
  3. Animal health and hygiene
  4. Animal housing
  5. Animal nutrition
  6. Animal rights
  7. Animal welfare
  8. Bones
  9. Bursitis
  10. Dog Breeds
  11. Feeding
  12. Feeding programs
  13. Feeds
  14. Feet
  15. Food economics
  16. Food programs
  17. Health
  18. Hygiene
  19. Lameness
  20. Land
  21. Lesions
  22. Liquid diets
  23. Lung diseases
  24. Lungs
  25. Mammals
  26. Meat animals
  27. nutrition programs
  28. Parasites
  29. peer-reviewed
  30. pens
  31. Respiratory tract infections
  32. skin
  33. skin lesions
  34. stomach
  35. Straw
  36. Swine
  1. peer-reviewed