Animal Behavior and Welfare Issues

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

Sows and Space

Publish Date: 10/11/2008

Pork producers have both economic and ethical incentives to understand the amount of space that meets the anatomical and behavioral needs of the pig. It is not enough to say pigs need more space on purely anthropomorphic grounds. We must understand how science has defined space needs of pigs. Still, some people may impose ethical or perceptual requirements about how much space should be provided that differs from purely science-based requirements. This paper will firstly consider how various groups view the space provided to pigs and secondly address the various ways in which space requirements have been defined based on science.


Read More Download PDF
Factsheets

Housing options for farrowing: Considerations for animal welfare and economics

Publish Date: 01/18/2009

Housing systems for farrowing sows have changed very little in the past 30 years. At the mid 20th century, two farrowing environments were common the outdoor hut in a pasture or lot, and an indoor farrowing pen. The farrowing pens were in low-cost buildings and thus the cost per square foot of building space was relatively low compared to todays buildings. Farrowing sows indoors has proved to be beneficial for both the producer and the sow and her piglets. However, recent criticism of the traditional farrowing crate has led to increased efforts to find suitable alternatives that still provide maximum production efficiency.


Read More Download PDF
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

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.


Read More Download PDF
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
References

IA State Univ. Report 2012: Location of Nursery Pigs in Relation to a Human Observer

Publish Date: 07/02/2012

The objective of this experiment was to determine pigs’ location in their home pen in relation to an unknown female observer. A total of 79 pens housing 1,817 ~6 wk old mixed sexed nursery pigs were used. An approachability test defined by Fangman et al. (2010) was used. The length of the nursery pen was…


Read More
References

IA State Univ. Report 2012: Development of a Nursery Pen Image Capturing Device to Classify Approachability of Nursery Pigs

Publish Date: 07/02/2012

The objective of this experiment was to build a mobile structure that could take digital pictures simultaneously with live observation to record pigs’ behavior. The digital pen image capturing device specifications (position in pen, height and camera angle) were based on the dimensions of the nursery pens at Lauren Christian Swine Research Center at the…


Read More
References

Defining "Approachability" of Nursery Pigs

Publish Date: 07/02/2012

The objective of this experiment was to compare two approachability definitions of nursery pigs to a human observer in their home pen using a digital image. A total of 79 pens in two rooms (40 in room 1 and 39 in room 2) were used. A total of 1,817, ~6 wk old mixed sexed nursery…


Read More
References

IA State Univ. Report 2012: Birth Weight and Post-Weaning Failure to Thrive Affect Subsequent Growth Performance, but Not Nursery Nutrient Digestibility or Carcass Composition of Pigs

Publish Date: 07/02/2012

Numerous factors, including birth weight, can affect transition during weaning. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of birth weight and transition ADG on growth and nutrient digestibility of pigs reared in a commercial environment. A total of 1,500 pigs were weighed at birth, tagged, and divided into 5 birth weight categories:…


Read More

Type

Category