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Alternative housing for dry sows: system studies or component analyses?

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards


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Legislation and consumer pressures within the EU member states are promoting a change to group housing for dry sows. Many alternative systems exist, based on different combinations of components: manure handling system (bedded or slatted pens), group size and management policy (static or dynamic groups), feeding system (group or individual, manual or automatic, simultaneous or sequential). These systems have met with varying degrees of success when evaluated using economic, production and welfare criteria. Whilst attempts have been made to compare different systems, their complexity makes Valid comparison and extrapolation of results difficult. Likewise, the evaluation of individual components of these systems is only useful if it takes account of the complex interactions which occur between different system components. Particular welfare and production problems can be experienced in the mixing of sows associated with group formation, equitable distribution of feed without aggression, and in the management of breeding in more extensive systems. Optimal group sizes, space requirements, pen designs to facilitate sub-group behaviour, and feeding/enrichment strategies to minimise aggression all require further study. It is concluded that system studies must therefore be supported by controlled analyses of system components and their interactions before generalised conclusions are made.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards SA

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 51st Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production

Year of Conference: 2000

Pages: 99-107

Publisher: Wageningen Academic

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: EEAP European Association for Animal Production Publication

Sponsor(s): European Association for Animal Production

ISBN: 9789074134859