Non-Competetive Feeding Offers Advantages

CANADA - Researchers with the Prairie Swine Centre report feeding systems like the one being used at its new sow research facility offer greater control over feed and reduced aggression during feeding, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 December 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

In June the Prairie Swine Centre officially opened its newly renovated 300 sow research facility at Floral, Saskatchewan.

The group housing system uses what are decribed as walk-in lock-in feeding stalls.

The stalls, which allow sows to enter and exit at will, segregate them from other sows during feeding eliminating competition for feed.

Dr Harold Gonyou says the system offers several advantages.

Dr Harold Gonyou-Prairie Swine Centre

I think the first thing is you're looking at a group housing system and group housing is something that we see the industry will be transitioning to over the next couple of decades because of public pressure or public desire to have pork from pigs that have been raised in a group housing system.

So first of all it accomplishes that.

But the second point is that, in going to a group housing system, this approach of using the feeding stalls reduces one of the key concerns we have and that is control over feed intake.

The sows in the system do not compete for feed.

They will compete to get into a feeding stall but, once they're in there, they have their full allocation of feed.

There's not competition for feed per say.

One sow can not control the feed and prevent another sow from eating.

Dr Gonyou notes where sows are fed in a non-competitive manner, less space is required per sow than in systems where animals have to compete for feed such as in floor feeding or trough feeding systems.

He believes we need to be looking at group housing systems and at the management options available within those systems to come up with well based recommendations for how the sows should be managed.

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