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Researcher Suggests Group Housing System Management More Appealing

by 5m Editor
19 March 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1202. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1202

A scientist with the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon says some swine producers may find the style of management necessary when raising pigs in groups quite appealing. Scientists have completed the first year of a four year study comparing the performance of pigs raised under two group housing systems using electronic feeding to those raised in a conventional stall type system.

Research Scientist in Ethology Dr. Harold Gonyou says there have been some age based differences in reproductive performance, with older animals doing better in the group systems and younger animals doing a little better in stalls, but performance in all of the systems is acceptable.

"In this particular study we've run the animals thought one reproductive cycle at this point and it is a four year study. We'll be taking animals through at least six reproductive cycles.

As we've gone into this system, there were some challenges initially in terms organizing and knowing where sows were and creating the movement patterns that we have to have for the herd but it's working quite well now.

It is a different management style but it's something that you can pick up on and you'll find differences in the sows, just in terms of their temperament and your ability to walk around them.

It is a different system.

I think some producers will enjoy working with this type of a system because the sows do respond quite differently to you."

Dr. Gonyou estimates the cost of the group housing systems in use at the Prairie Swine Centre would run about the same to five percent higher than that of a conventional stall type system but that will depend on the number of animals housed in the groups.

He says the centre operates with 45 animals in groups but scientists are confident that number could be increased to 55 and at 55 the costs of the two systems would be similar.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor