Farmscape for February 15, 2018
The Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork says the more robust the design of the group sow housing system, the fewer problems the producer will have to overcome through management.
"Impact of Loose Sow Housing on Production" was discussed last week as part of the 2018 Manitoba Swine Seminar.
Mark Fynn, the Manager of Quality Assurance and Animal Care Programs with Manitoba Pork, says there are 72 or more possible configurations when designing a group sow housing system and, while there's no one standard configuration, the main goal is to minimize aggression and maximize productivity.
Clip-Mark Fynn-Manitoba Pork:
The main factors of productivity that we're really focusing on, a lot has to do with reproduction and making sure that we're achieving good rates of reproduction, making sure we're minimizing the stress on animals during the critical periods so that we're maintaining a healthy pregnancy for those sows, making sure they're getting the nutrition and the amount of feed they need to be able to support those pregnancies.
Really when we're looking at the systems that we're designing and the management practices we put in place, all of it revolves around making sure we support that pregnancy and have good reproduction from that.
Sows have a variety of personalities and we have dominant and submissive animals and so one of the natural behaviors around those animals is some level of aggression and that usually happens when they're first becoming acquainted with each other when we first mix them into groups together.
That's something we never really had to deal with in our conventional systems before so out focus is on good management around when we're mixing them, making sure that we've designed the pens in a way so that those submissive sows that don't want to be involved in those interactions have the ability to escape that and that we're making sure those submissive sows are also getting the adequate feed intake to support their pregnancies and so providing them with a protected feeding situation.
Fynn says an optimal design will lead to a more robust group sow housing system and the producer won't have to out-manage as many problems.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork