Designer Diets Decrease Aggression and Increase Welfare
Livestock Behavior Research
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
This series of research projects will provide a method of feeding sows which will decrease their level of hunger, even though they are limit fed. This will result in less fighting and competition, thus it will address the largest problem the industry faces when group housing sows, unsettled aggression and poor welfare as its result. The final stage of this project will test the experimental diet on a large farm, thus by the completion of this study producers will know if it could be implemented in their operations.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Sows will be fed one of 5 diets which alter either fiber content or fermentable starch content. Those diets which result in the least amount of aggression and cause the most normal expression of behavior will then be paired to see if aggression can be further reduced. The combination of diets which result in the least aggression will then be implemented on a farm to determine if diet modifications can be successful in reducing aggression in farm raised sows.
Diets to decrease aggression. This project has been initiated with the first 50 sows currently on study. Sows were provided treatment diets and first repetition of 25 sows was allowed to interact to determine if one of the diets decreased aggression. Data are currently being analyzed.