Behavioural Observations of Peri-Parturient Sows and the Development of Alternative Farrowing Accommodation: A Review
A number of alternative farrowing systems have recently been developed, some of which have been more successful at improving welfare and productivity than others. It is argued that for a system to be successful it should meet with the behavioural requirements of the sow at this time. A number of studies have been carried out to observe the natural behaviour patterns of the peri-parturient sow in a wide range of environmental conditions. These studies have shown that during each phase of peri-parturient behaviour there are a number of key environmental features and conditions which are important to the sow. These include the social environment, shelter, nesting material and offspring interaction. This information can be useful in the design of farrowing systems. A review of the literature indicated that the more these conditions are met, the more readily the sow can adapt to the system, leading to improvements in maternal behaviour and piglet production.
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