Assessment of lying down behaviour in temporarily crated lactating sows

ILLMANN, Gudrun, GOUMON, Sébastien and CHALOUPKOVÁ, Helena. Assessment of lying down behaviour in temporarily crated lactating sows. animal, 2021, 15, 100130. ISSN 1751-7311.
Year2021
CathegoryScientific publication in impacted journals
Internal link21020.pdf
Abstract

Temporary crating may be a more acceptable housing systemfor lactating sows than permanent crating from an animal welfare point of view. It remains unclear whether opening the crate leads to changes in sow lying down behaviour and piglet activity that may pose an increased risk of injury to piglets. This study aimed to assess whether the lying down behaviour of lactating sows housed in temporary crating changed shortly after removal of confinement, whether it was influenced by piglets’ behaviour and age and whether sows preferentially used some support during lying down after crate opening. Sows (n = 13) were crated from 5 days pre partum to 3 days post partum. Their behaviours were recorded on video over a 24-h period both preceding and following crate opening, aswell as over a 24-h period on day 25. The following behaviours were analysed: position and activity of the piglets when the sow lie down, duration of the lying down events, use of pen walls or crate bars as support when lying down; and position of the sow in the pen when lying down. Piglet mortality was assessed every day. Data were analysed in SAS using GLM. The duration of lying down events did not differ between the 24-h periods before and after opening the crate but increased on day 25 (P < 0.01). Similarly, the percentage of piglets in the danger zone did not differ between the 24-h periods before and after opening the crate, but increased on day 25 (P < 0.0001). The percentage of piglets in the creep area increased temporarily the day after the crate opening (P < 0.0001). Sows frequently utilised support when lying down, but less over the 24-h period after the crate opening compared to the two other periods (P < 0.001). A higher percentage of piglets in the creep area resulted in longer lying down events where the sow's snoutwas in contact with piglets located in the creep area.