Publish Date: July 28, 2022
Environmental enrichment provides an opportunity to improve the living conditions of farm animals. Current farming systems offer little stimulation, other than food and water and animals are often closely confined in groups (with relatively little space per animal). Such environments may be inadequate to fulfil all the needs of an animal, or an animal may be unable to cope effectively. Enrichment can be used to encourage more of the natural behaviors of animals, thereby enhancing their welfare.
Publish Date: July 1, 2020
It is estimated that by the year 2050 the world population will be over 9 billion people and food production will need to increase up to 60% more to meet demand (FAO 2009). Therefore, livestock production would likely intensify increasing animal density and lowering the stockperson per animal ratio. This will result in less time available to monitor and manage individual animals properly, jeopardizing animal health and welfare. Currently, there is a growing interest to automate swine welfare assessment using precision livestock farming (PLF) which increases the farmer’s ability to keep contact with individual animals in the growing livestock production intensification.
Publish Date: September 23, 2019
A pig can become non-ambulatory anytime on-farm due to injury, illness or fatigue (Benjamin, 2005). Hence, caretakers may be required to move non-ambulatory pigs into or out of pens, alleys and load out areas. The National Pork Board provides guidance about humane swine handling of healthy and non-ambulatory pigs through their Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance programs (NPB, 2019, 2017). This factsheet provides information related to handling tools that are options to move a non-ambulatory pig on-farm.
Publish Date: March 7, 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.
Publish Date: October 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.
Publish Date: January 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.
Publish Date: October 23, 2014
Objectives • Understand sensory capacities of swine; • Describe normal behavioral patterns of swine; • Understand abnormal behaviors and possible causes under production conditions.
Publish Date: November 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.
Publish Date: November 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.
Publish Date: 20120702
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…