Journal article

Effects of stall dimensions on the welfare of pregnant sows

JL Barnett, PH Hemsworth, KL Butler, BN Schirmer, SS Borg, GM Cronin



The welfare of sows in gestation accommodation, and in particular the use of gestation stalls, is a major issue of concern among the animal-welfare community and pig producers. The objective of the present experiment was to investigate the effects of width (0.6 m v. 0.75 m) and length (2.0 m v. 2.2 m v. 2.4 m) of gestation stalls, plus a tether-stall negative-control treatment, on sow welfare measured via parameters of behaviour, stress physiology, immunology and gait score. The research involved 56 multiparous sows, housed alongside 56 non-experimental sows that were included to facilitate measurement of social behaviour. Posture and social behaviour were recorded after 7 weeks in treatment..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This project could not have been conducted without the assistance of several people including Dr Ellen Jongman, Mr Wayne Brown and Mr Chris Gough for their efforts throughout the experimental program. We are also grateful to Dr Ian McCauley and his staff for conducting the hormone assays. We thank Australian Pork Limited and DPI, Victoria, for their financial support.