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Scientists Work to Improve Sow Productivity and Piglet Vitality Under Group Housing
Dr. Jennifer Brown - Prairie Swine Centre

Farmscape for May 24, 2019

Scientists working in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are looking to identify the management practices that will improve the productivity of sows housed in groups and improve the vitality and health of their piglets.
As part of a research program being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists across Canada are working to fill knowledge gaps related to the productivity of sows housed in groups.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre says the work follows up on previous research and will answer more detailed questions around such things as the impact of mixing sows multiple times, as you would have in a large dynamic grouping system, and the long term impacts of electronic sow feeding on the stress of sows and the vitality of their piglets.

Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We have a lot of gaps there regarding the long term impact of group housing systems on sow reproduction in terms of stress responses and management.
Most of the past work has been done in research farms and we want to go to commercial farms if possible and look at the actual impact on piglet development using ultrasound systems to look at the benefits that group housing can have in terms of reduced stillborn pigs.
How is that caused by sow activity.
Certainly there are some gaps in the research and some questions out there, both negatives and positives related  to group housing that we want to explore in detail.
We are hoping to really identify what are the most beneficial practices that are going to improve piglet vitality and so potentially impacting the number of pigs born live and increasing the productivity of sows overall.

Dr. Brown says the work is just getting underway.
She notes the project is being conducted  as part of a five year research effort with results expected by 2022.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


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