Submitted to: American Society of Animal Science Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/12/2004
Publication Date: 1/1/2004
Citation: Mcglone, J.J., Hulbert, L., Dailey, J.W., Mcpherson, R., Morrow, J.L. 2004. Trickle versus drop feeding for gilts and sows in gestation crates or pens: reproductive performance and rates of injury. Journal of Animal Science. 82:Supplement 1, p. 362.
Technical Abstract: Sow housing systems and their effects on sow welfare are important to pork producers and consumers. Specifically, we sought to evaluate the effects of trickle feeding (feed delivered over 30 min) vs. drop feeding (feed delivered in a single moment) for PIC-USA Camborough-22 gilts/sows housed in gestation pens (groups of 5) or individual crates. Gilts were randomly assigned to one of the four factorially-arranged treatments. A total of 8 blocks was established. Pregnant gilts all farrowed in standard farrowing crates and then they returned to their same environment for a second complete parity. A total of 188 litters were farrowed from parity 1 and 2 females. Measures included back fat thickness, farrowing rates, numbers of pigs born alive, weaned, stillborn and piglet birth, and weaning weights. Sow weights were collected at farrowing and weaning. Sow injuries, wounds, and scratches were quantified. No interactions between parity, housing systems, or feeding systems were observed. The interaction between housing and feeding systems was significant (P = 0.01) for only sow farrowing weights; drop-fed, penned sows were heavier than drop-fed, crated sows while trickle-fed, penned sows were lighter than trickle-fed, crated sows. Penned sows had more (P < 0.05) back fat thickness than crated sows. Drop-fed sow weaned pigs were heavier (P < 0.05) than trickle-fed sows. All other measures of productivity were not different among treatments. Injuries, wounds, and scratches were statistically similar for sows in each treatment group. Drop-fed, penned sows increased back fat thickness compared with crated sows (perhaps being able to huddle, penned sows required less feed), but this effect was eliminated when penned sows were trickle-fed (and energy expenditure may be increased). Farrowing rates were ten percent lower among penned sows than crated sows. We conclude that overall gilt and sow productivity and injury rates were similar for sows in crates and pens, with the exception that farrowing rates may be reduced among sows housed in social groups during gestation.