Farmscape for September 30, 2016
New research suggests space allowance requirements for newly weaned nursery pigs can be reduced without compromising their performance.
Scientists with the Prairie Swine Centre, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and Newcastle University in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are looking into how stocking densities influence the performance of newly weaned pigs.
The influence of six different space allowances on the growth, behavior and health of nursery pigs are being compared.
Dr. Yolande Seddon, an Assistant Professor of Swine Behaviour and Welfare in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences with the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says the findings will help regulators set stocking density standards for nursery pigs.
Clip-Dr. Yolande Seddon-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs has a requirement for space allowance for all stages of growing animals to be of a K-value of 0.0335.
It does provide for a short term decrease in space allowance at the end of the production phase but really what we are interested in is whether that K-value is appropriate for nursery pigs because a lot of the research to develop set space allowances for growing pigs was done on growing pigs closer to the 60 top 100 kilogram weight range.
We don't really know a lot about how nursery pigs cope at different space allowances or whether they can handle slightly tight space allowances without it adversely affecting their well being because they do prefer to overlie each other, especially when they are newly weaned.
So it is possible that we may be able to have a smaller space allowance at that stage of production.
Dr. Seddon says preliminary data shows there have been no real differences in growth rates or in average daily gains of the pigs in the nursery phase across the different density treatments.
Full results are expected by the end of 2017.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork