Prairie Swine Centre Investigates Sow Performance in Group Housing

CANADA - As pressure to reduce sow stall use in Canada grows, the Prairie Swine Centre has compared the effects of three mixing strategies on sow performance in group sow housing.
calendar icon 30 September 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

The three mixing strategies included: Early mixing (EM) - sows mixed directly at weaning; Presocialisation (PS) - sows mixed for two days at weaning, then stall housed for breeding and until five weeks gestation, then remixed; and Late mixing (LM) - sows stall-housed at weaning and mixed into groups at five weeks gestation.

Results show no differences in the aggressive behaviour among treatments.

Analysis of production showed a lower conception rate in LM groups than in EM and PS groups P<0.05.

There were no differences in total born, piglets born alive or mummies among treatments, but a there were significantly fewer stillborn piglets in the EM treatment.

Fewer stillborn piglets may have resulted from improved fitness and/or activity levels during early gestation.

Overall, sows performed similarly in all treatments indicating that, under good management conditions, mixing sows at weaning does not impact sow performance or welfare.

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