An examination of behavioral, immunological and productive traits in four management systems for sows and piglets

John J. McGlone, Frank Blecha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Forty-one sows and litters were utilized in a multi-disciplinary evaluation of four common commercial housing systems for sows and piglets: (1) a standard crate (SC); (2) a modified or turnaround crate (TC); (3) a pen with an indoor and outdoor area (OP); (4) a straw-bedded hut on a lot (HL). HL litters had a higher incidence of still-births than OP litters. Litters raised in HL had higher mortality and weaned fewer and lighter pigs. Litters in TC had lower mortality than SC litters. Sow behavior data (such as sow feeding time) paralleled productivity data (number piglets weaned). Sows who spent more time showing oral behaviors towards bars pre-farrowing had larger litter sizes (r = 0.73, P <0.01). Sows who were less active (that is, moved while standing) pre-farrowing weaned more piglets (r=0.55, P<0.05). Sows who spent more time feeding weaned more pigs (r=0.57, P<0.05). Immunological data indicated that piglets in OP had higher white blood cell numbers and piglets in HL had lower antigen-induced blood antibody titers. Since litters in the TC had improved piglet survival compared with SC, a large-scale performance and economic-evaluation trial is in order to further study the system on commercial farms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-286
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume18
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1987

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'An examination of behavioral, immunological and productive traits in four management systems for sows and piglets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this