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The Animal Welfare Science Centre The Welfare of Gestating Sows in Conventional Stalls and in Large Groups on Deep-litter Guillermo Karlen Animal Welfare.

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Presentation on theme: "The Animal Welfare Science Centre The Welfare of Gestating Sows in Conventional Stalls and in Large Groups on Deep-litter Guillermo Karlen Animal Welfare."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Animal Welfare Science Centre The Welfare of Gestating Sows in Conventional Stalls and in Large Groups on Deep-litter Guillermo Karlen Animal Welfare Science Centre Department of Primary Industries, Victoria University of Melbourne

2 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Advantages of stall housing Feed intake Decreased aggression Individual health check

3 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Welfare concerns sows are unable to exercise sows have limited social interaction sows show signs of chronic stress (in some studies) Use of stalls for gestating sows have been restricted in EU and banned in some countries

4 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Large group housing

5 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Large group housing

6 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Pen Distribution and Feeding Station Feeding Station

7 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Welfare in groups Advantages are able to exercise have social interaction less feed needed to maintain body condition avoid aggression Disadvantages increased aggression retaliation more animals feed intake control

8 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Objective To assess the welfare of gestating sows in large groups on deep-litter compared to individual stalls.

9 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Experiment 1: 640 Sows Two treatments Conventional stalls (320 sows) Large groups on deep litter (320 sows) Experimental Design

10 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Large groups: each replicate 40 experimental + 45 non-experimental N = 85 sows in 1 pen Space allowance = 2.3 m 2 per sow Stalls: each replicate 40 individually housed sows Eight replicates of each treatment Weekly allocation of replicates 18 focal sows per replicate in each treatment 6 from each parity group Data collection: 27 weeks Experimental Design

11 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Measurements Injuries and locomotion

12 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Assessments Injuries at weaning and weeks 1, 9 and 15 of gestation Scratches Abrasions Cuts

13 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Injury assessment

14 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Number of scratches was higher in large groups P<0.001 Results

15 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Number of abrasions was higher in Stalls P<0.001 Results

16 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Locomotion score Sows were scored when standing, walking and trotting on a concrete pathway. 0: sound 1: difficulties putting weight on one or more limbs 2: locomotion is obviously altered; signs of pain 3: unable to walk, severe pain? Measurements

17 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Weaning previous to treatment Week 9 and 15 of gestation Stalls: allowed to walk 30 m before assessment Large groups: after feeding Assessments

18 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Locomotion better in Large groups P=0.001 Results

19 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Less severe locomotion problems in Large groups P<0.001 Sows scoring 2 or 3 Results

20 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Lower culling rate in Large groups Results

21 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Behaviour Feeding behaviour Occurrence of aggression Time budget Measurements

22 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Week 1 and 9 of gestation Feeding behaviour: feeding speed Occurrence of aggression: 4 x 10 minutes of continuous observation Time budget: instantaneous scanning every 5 minutes for 40 minutes Assessments

23 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Aggression decreased between week 1 and 9 Results P<0.05

24 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Time budget Percentage of time spent lying or standing/walking Results P<0.002 P<0.005

25 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Physiological measurements Salivary cortisol weeks 1 and 9 of gestation Immunology Week 16 of gestation Haematology Lymphocyte sub-populations Measurements

26 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Saliva cortisol Results

27 The Animal Welfare Science Centre P<0.05 Immunology Results

28 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Immunology: Neutrophil/Lymphocyte ratio P<0.05 Results

29 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Reproductive performance Measurements

30 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Farrowing rate Total born Born alive Stillborn Mummies Average piglet birth weight Average piglet weaning weight Total litter (alive) birth weight Total litter weaning weight Assessments

31 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Farrowing rate Results

32 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Individual productivity Results P=0.01

33 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Early in gestation Higher incidence of scratches in Large groups Lower incidence of abrasions in Large groups Higher salivary cortisol concentration in Large groups The locomotion problems were less severe in Large groups Summary

34 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Summary Late in gestation Higher incidence of scratches in Large groups, although the number decreased substantially Lower incidence of abrasions in Large groups The locomotion problems increased in Stalls Lower immune response in Stalls

35 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Conclusion Sows in Large groups faced higher challenges early in gestation, however they seem to decrease over time In contrast, Sows in stalls faced increasing challenges later in gestation Different systems have different problems Design is more important than the system per se

36 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Experiment 2 Three treatments Stalls (15 weeks) Large groups (15 weeks) 5 weeks in stalls and 10 weeks in large groups 1080 sows 14 months of data collection

37 The Animal Welfare Science Centre Acknowledgments Funding provided by: Department of Primary Industries Victoria Australian Pork Limited The University of Melbourne Supervision: Prof. Paul Hemsworth (The University of Melbourne, Australia) and Dr Harold Gonyou (Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada) Special thanks to: Dr John Barnett Dr Greg Cronin Dr Emma Fabrega AWSC staff and students R&D staff at QAF Meat Industries


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