Reduced Bedding During Transport of Pigs

by 5m Editor
14 June 2012, at 7:49am

CANADA - Research conducted by Texas Tech University shows the use of extra amounts of bedding when transporting pigs offers no benefit to the pig and in summer actually negatively impacts the welfare of the animal, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Researchers with Texas Tech University have been examining the impact of using various amounts of bedding at different temperatures during the transport of pigs on animal welfare.

Last week "Transport Bedding - Can Less Be Better?" was among the topics discussed as part of World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

Texas Tech PhD student Avi Sapkota says the research is being conducted to determine the optimum amount of bedding that should be provided to pigs during transport.

Avi Sapkota-Texas Tech University

Actually the TQA handbook, the Transport Quality Assurance handbook is the guideline that everybody uses while transporting the pigs and it recommends the different amount of bedding to be used inside the trailer while transporting them.

It just says a light, medium and heavy amount of bedding but it's not defined what's the right amount.

This research was conducted for a whole year, for winter, January and February, mild weather, March and May and in the summer June and July so the temperature range would be below freezing to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Different amounts of bedding, the levels of bedding, were used and it is three, six and 12 bags of bedding per trailer.

We found that during mild and winter season there is not any benefit of using an extra amount of bedding.

During the summer season there is actually a negative impact on the pigs so there is more dead and down using more bedding inside the trailer.

Mr Sapkota says the take-home message to producers is that more is not always better and he recommends a lesser amount of bedding to be used while transporting finishing hogs.

He notes an economic analysis shows in addition to improving animal welfare, by reducing bedding the industry will save at least four million dollars per year just in the cost of bedding.

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