Influence of access to grass silage on the welfare of sows introduced to a large dynamic group

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Abstract

This experiment investigated the effects of providing access to grass silage on the welfare of sows introduced to a large dynamic group. Two treatments were applied: (1) access to racks containing grass silage (offering an average of 1.9 kg silage/sow/day), and (2) control treatment with no grass silage racks. Treatments 1 and 2 were applied to two separate dynamic groups, each containing 37 (2) sows. Approximately 9 sows were replaced in both groups at 3-week intervals, and each of these replacements constituted a replicate of the study. The study was replicated six times using a total of 108 sows. In a time-based cross-over design, treatments were swapped between the two dynamic groups after three replicates. Highest levels of rack usage were shown between 08:00 and 14:00 h. During peak periods, 9.8% of sows were observed at the racks at a given time. On average, 78.5% of sows observed at the racks were newly-introduced animals. Overall levels of aggression to which newly-introduced sows were exposed on the day of introduction to the group were low, and did not differ significantly between treatments (P > 0.05). In addition, injury levels measured 1-week post-introduction to the group did not differ significantly between treatments (P > 0.05). Sham chewing behaviour was more prevalent in the post-rather than the pre-feeding yard (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume107
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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