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Title:The effects of high fiber diets and feeding partitions on the well-being of group-kept sows
Author(s):Lopez, Mayra
Advisor(s):Salak-Johnson, Janeen L.
Contributor(s):Stein, Hans; Wheeler, Matthew
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
animal welfare
Abstract:The European Union, Canada, and numerous states in the United States have banned the use of gestation stalls. As a result pork producers have to either retrofit their existing gestation barns or build new ones in order to comply with the group-housing mandates. One of the main concerns with housing sows in groups is the increased aggression at mixing and around limited resources, especially feed and water. Grouped-housed sows establish a social hierarchy upon mixing which often reduces aggressive encounters later-on (Greenwood et al., 2014; Velarde, 2007; Li, 2012). During gestation, sows are often limit-fed to prevent obesity, thus feed becomes a limiting resource and as a result aggression occurs during feeding time despite an established hierarchy. Physiological demands of pregnancy increases the energy demands of the dry sow (Prunier et al., 2010; Marchant et al., 1995); and in group pens demand is further increased due to variability in feed intake and increased aggression. Hence, these drawbacks of group housing need to be minimized in order to improve the productivity and well-being of sows. The objective of this thesis was to assess the effects of housing sows in group-pens equipped with feeding partitions of different lengths and feeding high fiber diets that differ in energy levels on sow well-being using a multidisciplinary approach. The multiple measures included performance, productivity, physiology, and behavior. The results of this study show that regardless of dietary treatment (30% wheat middlings and 15% soybean hulls or 30% DDGS and 30% corn germ meal) there were minimal effects on the overall well-being of sows, except for average piglet weaning weight. Similarly housing sows in pens with either 0.6 m or 1.8 m long feeding partitions did not affect sow performance or productivity, but aggression and body lesion scores were reduced by housing sows in pens equipped with 0.6 m long feeding partitions.
Issue Date:2015-12-02
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Mayra Lopez
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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