Straw bedding provides a number of functions which affect the behaviour and welfare of pigs including comfort, recreation and diet. It has been suggested that the importance of these different functions will vary depending on the life /production stage of the pig. The available literature
indicates that all of the above functions are relevant to all the different stages except newly born piglets. The occupational value of straw appears to be highly important. The actual mechanisms by which straw affects the pig's motivation systems are still poorly understood. It is therefore
uncertain whether suitable alternatives to bedding exist or even if straw bedding in itself is completely satisfactory. Until satisfactory alternatives are available straw bedding should continue to be recommended in terms of pig behaviour and welfare.