Effects of Enrichment and Floor Type on Behaviour of Cubicle Loose-Housed Dry Sows

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Abstract:

The effects of enrichment and floor type on the behaviour and welfare of cubicle loose-housed dry sows were investigated in a 2x2 factorial design with four replicates. Sixty-four dry sows were housed in groups of four in pens containing a communal exercise area and four feeding stalls. Pens were either enriched (using spent mushroom compost on suspended wood and wire flat racks) or barren (containing either a solid or part-slatted floor). Enrichment reduced aggressive behaviour, injuries, nosing the ground and lying with eyes open and led to an increase in lying with eyes closed. Floor type had no overall significant effect on sow behaviour. Presentation of spent mushroom compost on suspended racks was found to be a cheap and practical form of enrichment. Incorporation of this system into the design of cubicle loose housing could reduce many of the problems associated with this type of housing and improve the welfare of the sows.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; BEHAVIOUR; ENVIRONMENTAL ENRICHMENT; PIGS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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