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Access to Research Improves Decision Making When Moving to Group Sow Housing

24 August 2017
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - A research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre says the more access producers have to information on the various options for group sow housing the better equipped they'll be in deciding how to transition from stalls, according to Bruce Cochrane.

A Group Sow Housing Seminar slated for 12 September in Winnipeg and 13 September in Strathmore will examine research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc through the National Sow Housing Conversion Project.

Dr Jennifer Brown, a research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, explains this project was launched largely in response to the new Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs that came out in 2014.

Dr Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre

It was saying that anyone who was doing a new build or a renovation for their gestation housing required that group housing be installed and then, by 2024, there is a deadline and if you don't put in group housing by 2024 if you still have stalls then you have to provide some other opportunities for sows to have greater freedom of movement.

That's actually a difficult thing to provide to sows in stalls so basically the code of practice is very much encouraging producers to go to group housing and that is really the driving force behind this project and trying to get this information out to producers.

We recognize that it's a huge commitment on the part of producers to implement group housing in terms of changing your management and investing in these new systems.

Certainly there is a lot of information out there that we can learn that can help that transition and reduce the cost and will result in better productivity in the long run.

Dr Brown says the more information producers have the better off they'll be in making these transitions.

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