Prairie Swine Centre Recommends Various Width Gestation Stalls

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1398. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 4 December 2003
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Manitoba Pork Council

Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1398

A researcher with the Prairie Swine Centre says hog producers can improve the longevity of breeding sows by varying the width of the stalls in which they're housed.

The Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre is in the midst of two programs looking at housing, one examining group housing using electronic sow feeders and the other examining stalls.

Dr. Harold Gonyou says, in an effort to maximize the economic efficiency of hog production facilities, industry has been driven toward narrower and narrower gestation stalls.

He says, while reducing stall size has been cost effective, industry is recognizing those stalls are too narrow for the larger sows and that's taking its toll on longevity.

"In looking at the size of the gestations stall, we're finding that a gilt, the first pregnancy, a 22 inch wide stall seems to accommodate her fairly well.

By the time she gets into her second and third pregnancy it would seem that you would need to be into a 24 inch stall.

To achieve the same degree of freedom of movement in an animal in the third, fourth and fifth pregnancy you need to be up to 26 inches and you may have to go even to 28 inch wide stalls to achieve the same kind of freedom of movement as a gilt does in 22 inch.

I would advocate that a farm should have a variety of stall widths, not a single width throughout the entire system and that you put sows into stalls based on their size. When they come from farrowing and go into the breeding gestation unit, you move all of your small animals in first into the small stalls and then your next parity group into slightly bigger stalls, etceteras so that your biggest sows have access to the biggest stalls."

Dr. Gonyou says, as producers go to wider stalls, one consideration is to move to a more cost effective group housing system.

He says there are several management options within group housing but the centre is focusing its attention on systems which utilize electronic feeding.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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