Dr. Yuzhi Li West

Resources Authored

Factsheets

Biosecurity for Alternative Pig Farms

Publish Date: 11/11/2015

This factsheet presents a biosecurity protocol for farms raising pigs in alternative housing systems. The protocol can be adapted in various ways to meet the needs of different farms. The main objective is to provide smaller scale, alternative production system users with information they can use to enhance farmstead biosecurity. Developing and implementing an effective biosecurity protocol for livestock reduces the risk of disease, thereby benefiting production and profitability.


Read More
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.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Minimizing Aggression Among Group-Housed Gestating Sows at Mixing

Publish Date: 04/23/2012

A common problem in group-housed gestating sows is aggression at mixing. Mixing-induced aggression can cause injuries to sows, such as skin lesions, vulva biting, and even lameness [1]. The initial aggression can also result in subordinate sows becoming fearful of further conflicts while attempting to obtain feed which leads to inadequate feed intake and poor body condition [2]. Poor body condition represents poor welfare. Mixing sows during the first few weeks after breeding may reduce pregnancy rate [3,4]. Reproduction failure and lameness can result in sows being culled, which reduces longevity of sows. So, management strategies are needed to minimize aggression at mixing thereby to enhance welfare and performance of group-housed gestating sows.


Read More Download PDF

Resources Reviewed

PIG How-To's

How to mix gestating sows housed in groups

Publish Date: 11/14/2014

Due to specific state legislation or market requirements many farms will have to house gestating sows in groups. Management practices will have to be modified for farms to be successful when housing sows in groups during gestation. Gilts and sows have a dominance hierarchy based on aggression and avoidance. Fighting among sows mainly occurs during the first 2 to 3 hours after mixing. The hierarchy is primarily established within 24 hours. An important consideration will be how to mix sows and gilts in groups to reduce overall, prolonged aggression. This article will provide guidelines that can be used to formulate standard operating procedures for mixing sows into gestation pens. For this ‘How-To’ sheet, it will be assumed that females (gilts and sows) will be mixed after they are mated.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Neonatal Management Practices

Publish Date: 04/05/2012

Neonatal piglets are routinely processed during their first week of life. Processing may include teeth clipping, ear notching, tail docking, and administering supplemental iron. In addition, piglets are sometimes cross-fostered, and male piglets are routinely castrated. Many routine procedures conducted on the baby piglet are coming under scrutiny from scientists and consumers on animal welfare grounds because they cause pain or distress and they are usually performed without the use of anesthesia or analgesia. Therefore it is important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of such procedures to the animal - in terms of long-term health, productivity and welfare. It is also important to perform procedures at appropriate times and to use the most humane techniques available.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Welfare Issues at Weaning

Publish Date: 04/05/2012

Defining what is meant by pig welfare can be challenging. Still, one knows adequate or inadequate welfare when it is observed. Sick or injured pigs clearly have poor welfare. Pigs in an inadequate environment are at risk to experience poor welfare. Weaning is one of the most traumatic events that piglets experience and includes numerous acute and chronic stressors including separation from their mother, changes in their nutritional supply and accommodation, mixing of unfamiliar pigs, and transportation [1-5].


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Natural Farrowing Behavior of the Sow and Piglets

Publish Date: 12/29/2010

To determine the best practices for providing good sow and litter welfare in the farrowing accommodation, a good starting point is to re-examine the behavioral patterns that have been documented around farrowing and during lactation, in a natural or semi-natural environment. There is a series of behaviors carried out, with sows and piglets undergoing various phases of isolation, community integration, and living. Jensen has proposed that maternal behavior can be divided into six distinct parts: (i) isolation and nest site seeking, (ii) nest building, (iii) farrowing, (iv) nest occupation, (v) social integration, and (vi) weaning [1].


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Hypothetical Welfare Assessments for the Sow and Her Litter

Publish Date: 01/03/2011

The assessment of welfare within farrowing systems presents a unique challenge for pork producers, veterinarians, and animal scientists. Welfare assessment within all other phases of swine production involves pigs at a single stage of their productive life. Within the farrowing environment, the sow and her piglets are at two very different stages of their life, and have different requirements in regards to their thermal, social, and physical environments [1]. A system that may be ideal for the welfare needs and requirements of the sow may be far from optimal for her piglets, and vice versa. In order for objective and science-based assessments to be conducted on swine farms, we must have an appreciation of the sows and her piglets welfare during farrowing and lactation.


Read More Download PDF

Resources Edited

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.


Read More
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.


Read More Download PDF