CANADA - Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc indicates sows housed in groups will perform better when mixed according to parity, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"Transitioning to Group Sow Housing: What Does the Science Say" will be discussed next week in Swift Current, Red Deer and Lethbridge and next month in Niverville and Portage La Prairie as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's annual spring producer meetings.
Dr Yolande Seddon, a post doctoral fellow in ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, notes research conducted in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc is examining various approaches to sow grouping.
Dr Yolande Seddon-Prairie Swine Centre:
There's a lot of useful information that is coming out of the science.
One in particular is suggesting now that we know that housing sows in parity groupings is very successful to help even out competition in the group.
If you're in a competitive feeding system or one with an average feed drop for the group you can also better suit the nutritional requirements of the sows when they're more evenly sized.
We also know in electronic sow feeding systems that we seem to have some better success when we're actually managing them in parity groupings of low, medium and old parity sows.
This also especially important for the gilts that need to learn how to use electronic sow feeding systems.
We've also had some recent research coming out which is also suggesting that you can mix sows at weaning in comparison to after five weeks gestation and we seem to have no effect on productivity.
Everyone was producing very well and, as the initial start of this question, that seems to be related to the fact that the system we tested it in was a free access stall system so we were able to maintain individual feed intake to each of the sows.
This is also telling us that, providing we can meet some of these key management factors like maintaining individual feed intake, that production shouldn't be compromised in when we're choosing to mix the sows.
For more information or to register for the spring producer meetings visit prairieswine.ca.
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