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Early Life Management Strategies Designed to Reduce Stress and Improve Productivity Under Evaluation
Siba Khalife - Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Farmscape for October 16, 2023

Scientists with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are exploring the effects of early life management strategies in pigs on reducing stress and improving lifetime productivity.
Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are exploring the effect of early life management strategies for pigs on longer term welfare outcomes in an effort to improve their lifetime productivity.
Siba Khalife, a PhD candidate swine behavior and welfare at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the performance of pigs provided extra space, chewable materials of burlap and rope and calm human interaction for five minutes three times per week was compared to traditionally raised pigs from birth to slaughter.

Clip-Siba Khalife-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
So far, we don't have any conclusive results but there are a few anecdotal bits from barn staff.
One important thing is that the management treated pigs have less aversion to the stock people and they approach a lot more readily when they go to get treatments and are a lot less flighty.
Their reduced aversion and the seemingly reduced stress that we can see so far, if it turns out to be statistically different between the management treated pigs and the standard pigs, that would tell us that having certain management strategies in the early life period would have the pigs modulate their stress behavior a lot better and be exposed to humans without being stressed.
That would make it easier for the stock people to handle them and to move them around as they see fit to give them treatments and things like that which would be good in terms of labor and it would be good in terms of pigs so that they don't feel stressed in their daily lives.

Khalife says the tracking of practical management strategies applied at different behavioral development periods to measure the effects on welfare and production, will provide information on potential new options that can be implemented and the most effective early life periods to implement them in.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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