Social factors that affect the behaviour and productivity of gestating sows in an electronic sow feeding system
Strawford, Megan Leah
Previous research has shown that the productivity of sows housed in an Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) system is affected by the housing management (static vs. dynamic), stage of gestation at mixing and parity. Familiarity has also been shown to affect the behaviour of group-housed sows. Thus, the objective of this experiment was to determine how the previously mentioned social factors affect the behaviour, physiology and productivity of sows housed in an ESF system. Sows were regrouped into either the static and dynamic pens. Within an introduction group, a subgroup of up to 24 focals sows was observed. The focal sows were chosen based on whether they were mixed pre vs. post-implantation (46 days post-breeding), familiar vs. unfamiliar with group mates and parity (1st vs. 2nd and 3rd vs. 4th +). Aggression at mixing and at the feeder, injury scores, feeder entry order, space usage, salivary cortisol and farrowing productivity was recorded. The data was analyzed using Proc-Mixed and the General Model for SAS. Housing did not have a significant effect on the any of the parameters examined. Young sows had significantly more piglets born alive when housed in a dynamic system, while old sows had more piglets born alive when housed in a static system (p=0.03). Pre-implant sows initiated more aggressive encounters than post-implant sows (p=0.01). Post-implant sows ate later in the feeding cycle (p=0.03), rested on the slats more (p
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentAnimal and Poultry Science
ProgramAnimal and Poultry Science
SupervisorGonyou, Harold W.
CommitteeThacker, Philip A.; Stookey, Joseph M.; Connor, M. L. (Laurie); Buchanan, Fiona C.
Copyright DateFebruary 2006
stage of gestation