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Advanced Planning Key When Converting to Group Housing

14 September 2017
Manitoba Pork Council


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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

FarmScape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

CANADA - The Coordinator of the National Sow Housing Conversion Project says the importance of advanced planning has been the key lesson learned from producers who have made the conversion from stall housing to group housing of gestating sows, Bruce Cochrane writes.

In response to requirements for the Canadian pork industry to move to group housing of gestating sows by 2024 Swine Innovation Porc is spearheading a project under which pork producers are allowing their sow barn conversions to be tracked and documented to provide information to help other producers make the change.

National Sow Housing Conversion Project Coordinator Doug Richards, with the Prairie Swine Centre, says one of the main lessons learned so far has been the value of advanced planning.

Doug Richards-Prairie Swine Centre

This is a big investment both in the producers' time and in facilities and staff.

Consult and get as much information as you can before you do your conversion because there is going to be a learning curve.

If you've got barn staff or other people involved in the operation get them involved right at first so it isn't one day we're doing this because it is a huge change.

If your used to working with animals that were in your gestation rooms in the stalls and now you walk into a group of 50 or 100 or maybe 300 sows, the husbandry skills are a little bit different because now you have to work with the animals a little bit differently.

Overall what we've seen, the producers that we have on the programme now, it hasn't been 100 per cent yet this is the way to go but none of them have said they would do anything different.

They may do it differently.

It is different.

It does take a different mind set and those producers that have done it, the staff have enjoyed the conversion.

It's a different atmosphere.

The animals react differently to things but overall I think it's been a very positive influence for the producers and for the animals.

Mr Richards says 20 years ago we didn't have the science we have now and we've got more technology today.

For more visit groupsowhousing.com.

ThePigSite News Desk



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