Canadian Pork Industry Moves Towards Group Sow Housing

CANADA- A research scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre reported that changes to Canada's Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs has fuelled an increased interest in sow housing research, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 April 2015
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As a result of changes to Canada's Pig Code of Practice, the Canadian pork industry is moving away from stalled housing of gestating sows.

"Transitioning to Group Sow Housing: What Does the Science Say" will be discussed on Wednesday 22 April in Niverville and Thursday 23 April in Portage La Prairie as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's annual spring producer meetings.

Dr Yolande Seddon, a post doctoral fellow in ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, said that as we look to manage sows in groups questions include how can we better design the system to accommodate large groups, how can we promote flow and calm, what role does genetics play and how can we better monitor welfare.

Dr Yolande Seddon-Prairie Swine Centre:

Since there has been interest in group sow housing there has been a lot of research that has gone on historically and as we're learning more it also prompts more research to be done.

We are involved in a lot of sow housing research here at the Prairie Swine Centre and one of them is in fact the Swine Innovation Porc funded research which is looking at different aspects of the way that we manage the sows.

This includes the mixing time of the sows.

We're looking at this in a free access stall and electronic sow feeder systems, they're looking at two feeding systems and also looking at how the flooring is impacting how the sows walk and fare on it and levels of lameness and also looking at how we can promote calm in the group through design of the system and use of enrichment in that system.

There is also a lot of other research going on into sow longevity out there and these are really factors that are going to influence how well we can produce sows sustainably in these new group systems and how we need to tweak the management.

For more information or to register for the spring producer meetings visit

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