RESEARCH IN PIG BREEDING, 11, 2017 (2)
PENS WITH TEMPORARY CRATING: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE HOUSING SYSTEM TO IMPROVE THE WELFARE OF LACTATING SOWS - REVIEW
Wackermannová M., Goumon S., Illmann G.
Institute of Animal Science Prague, Department of Ethology, Czech Republic
Farrowing pens with temporary confinement over the first few days post-partum have been developed as a compromise between conventional farrowing crates and pens to better satisfy the needs of the sow and of the piglets during lactation. From the sow standpoint, temporary confinement may increase sow welfare by allowing pre and post-partum natural maternal behaviour and improve (physical) comfort, which are drastically compromised in crates. From the piglet standpoint, temporary confinement of the sow during the first days after farrowing may be a way to ensure piglet survival, which may be more at risk in loose housing conditions due to crushing. This paper reviews the current knowledge on pens with temporary crating for lactating sows and shows that, even though more research is needed, this system appears to be a beneficial alternative to farrowing crates and may constitute an intermediate step preceding implementation of permanent loose-housing environment.
Key Words: Lactating sows, housing, welfare, piglet performance, behaviour