Location: Genetics and Animal BreedingTitle: Behavioral time budgets for sows before and after farrowing
|MACON, AYSA - University Of Nebraska|
|BROWN-BRANDL, TAMI - University Of Nebraska|
|LEE, BENARD - University Of Nebraska|
|VANDER WOUDE JR, ERIC - University Of Nebraska|
|MARKVICKA, ERIC - University Of Nebraska|
|SHARMA, SUDHENDU - University Of Nebraska|
Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/16/2022
Publication Date: 7/20/2022
Citation: Macon, A., Brown-Brandl, T., Lee, B., Vander Woude Jr, E., Markvicka, E., Sharma, S., Rohrer, G.A. 2022. Behavioral time budgets for sows before and after farrowing. In: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE). July 17-20, 2022, Houston, TX. pg. 64. Paper 2200950.
Interpretive Summary: Pre-weaning piglet mortality is a major economic and welfare issue in swine production. Farrowing crates decrease pre-weaning mortality by restricting the sow’s movement until weaning, reducing the risk of crushing the piglet. This study examined how sow and piglet behavior changes through the nursing phase. It’s important to understand sow and piglet behaviors as well as sow posture changes throughout the nursing phase. Video images were captured during critical time intervals over a three-week period. Sows were more active before farrowing which could be a strong indicator of pending birth. They were least active from birth through 1 week after birth. Pigs became more active and nursed more often approximately 9 days after farrowing. These observations could be used to predict oncoming birth to help with labor management and to decrease the likelihood of piglet injury or death.
Technical Abstract: Pre-weaning piglet mortality is a major economic and welfare issue in swine production. Farrowing crates have been a proven method to decrease pre-weaning mortality by restricting the sow’s movement until weaning and thus by reducing the risk of overlay crushing of the piglet. It’s important to understand sow and piglet behaviors as well as sow posture changes throughout the lactation period. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine the changes in sow postures and behaviors prior to farrowing (2 days prior), early post farrowing (2-days) and mid lactation (9-days) and to assess the piglets at the ages of 2 days and 9 days of age. A total of nine Landrace x Yorkshire sows were randomly assigned to one of three different farrowing crate layouts: expanded conventional, offset, and diagonal layout. The behavior of sows and piglets were captured in three different 5-week periods, three sows each period. Video and time lapse images were captured throughout the 5 week-lactation, using two different systems: time-lapse cameras and security camera system. Differences between two days before, two days after, and nine days after farrowing were found in the amount of time lying left and right, lying other, sitting, standing, eating, and drinking. Sows were found to be more active at pre-farrowing suggesting restlessness and least active at early post-farrowing and 1-week post-farrowing. There were no differences in piglets resting, but there were higher occurrences in piglets active and nursing nine days after farrowing compared to two days after farrowing.