Anna K. Johnson Iowa State University

Resources Authored

Factsheets

How has selection for residual feed intake (RFI) affected the grow-finish pig's ability to cope with stress?

Publish Date: 03/07/2016

Feed is the largest cost in pork production; therefore, improving feed efficiency can increase producer profitability. Furthermore improved feed efficiency can support industry competitiveness, decrease the demand on global feed resources, and complement environmental sustainability. Genetically, selective breeding for residual feed intake (RFI) shows promise in meeting these increased demands. However, it is important to balance the benefits of feed efficiency selection with the pig’s ability to cope with stress and its welfare. Therefore, this factsheet will discuss physiological and behavioral stress research on swine selected on the basis of RFI.


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Factsheets

Alternative Euthanasia Methods to Manually Applied Blunt Force Trauma for Piglets Weighing Up to 12 Pounds

Publish Date: 11/14/2014

The most predominant method in the U.S. for euthanasia of non-viable piglets (less than 12 lbs.) is manually applied blunt force trauma (Ma-BFT). Manually applied blunt force trauma is one of several euthanasia techniques considered acceptable or conditionally acceptable by the American VeterinarybMedical Association (AVMA, 2013). However, Ma-BFT is being criticized on the basis of aesthetics, impacts on those performing the procedure, and ability to produce humane euthanasia consistency. Alternative methodologies to Ma-BFT will be discussed in this fact sheet, highlighting benefits and challenges of these methods, along with implementation techniques.


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Factsheets

How Does Weaning Age Affect the Welfare of the Nursery Pig?

Publish Date: 04/23/2012

Weaning is a traumatic event for piglets regardless of their age. The change in nutrition from a largely milk based diet to a pelleted ration affects gut local immune status and gut microflora [1, 2]. In addition, changing the accommodation and mixing piglets can all have consequences on the piglet physical, nutritional [3, 4], immunological [5], and behavioral status [6, 7]. What is the “best” or “correct” age to wean the pig according to the scientific information?


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PIG How-To's

How To Evaluate Animal Comfort

Publish Date: 04/17/2012

An animal’s comfort depends on many factors including temperature, air quality, as well as food and water availability. Animal comfort can be quickly evaluated by looking at the behavior and condition of the animal. Design features such as housing type, pen design, stocking rates, type of flooring, stage of production, heating and ventilation will greatly influence the comfort of the animal.


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Factsheets

Management Strategies to Reduce Transport Losses in Market Weight Pigs

Publish Date: 04/05/2012

Transport losses in market-weight pigs (dead and non-ambulatory pigs) represent animal welfare, legal, and economic concerns [1]. First of all, improving the well-being of pigs during transport and reducing the incidence of dead and non-ambulatory pigs are animal welfare priorities [2]. Second, non-ambulatory livestock are the subject of increased rules and regulations. For example, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors and plant welfare auditors evaluate how non-ambulatory pigs are handled at the packing plant. Improper handling of non-ambulatory pigs at the plant can result in a USDA non-compliance report and/or a failed plant welfare audit [3-4]. Third, transport losses represent direct financial losses to producers and packers. These losses have been estimated to cost the U.S. swine industry approximately $50 to $100 million annually [5].


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Resources Reviewed

Factsheets

Normal and Abnormal Behaviors of Swine Under Productions Conditions

Publish Date: 10/23/2014

Objectives • Understand sensory capacities of swine; • Describe normal behavioral patterns of swine; • Understand abnormal behaviors and possible causes under production conditions.


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Factsheets

Space Allocation Decisions for Nursery and Grow-Finish Facilities

Publish Date: 06/03/2006

Investment in nursery and grow-finish facilities represents the most capital-intensive portion of modern pork production systems. It also is the investment most likely to have the lowest asset turnover ratio as a measure of financial return to investment. Thus, the decision on how many pigs to stock a facility with has major economic impacts. Not only must a decision be made regarding the number of pigs to put into a facility each time it is stocked, during the construction of the facility decisions must be made regarding the number of pens per facility and hence, the number of pigs per pen.


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Resources Edited

Factsheets

Alternative farrowing options in the swine industry

Publish Date: 05/06/2015

Over the past decade there has been increased awareness from the public on animal welfare issues related to commercial swine. More specifically, in the United States, much time and discussion has focused on housing conditions of sows during farrowing and lactation. Restricted sow movement in the traditional farrowing stall has been identified as a significant concern with growing pressure towards the elimination of this system. Recognizing changes in consumer demand and the desire to improve sow welfare by meeting her biological needs during farrowing, alternative farrowing options need to be assessed. The purpose of this factsheet is to identify alternative farrowing options and discuss the impacts of these facilities on the biological needs of the sow, piglet welfare and impact on worker safety, efficiency and labor costs.


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