Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 497914
Title Developing a group housing system for lactating sows and their litters
Author(s) Nieuwamerongen, S.E. van; Bolhuis, J.E.; Soede, N.M.; Peet-Schwering, C.M.C. van der
Source In: Proceedings of the International conference on pig welfare - Improving pig welfare - what are the ways forward?. - Copenhagen, Denmark : Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark - p. 139 - 139.
Event Copenhagen, Denmark : Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark International conference on pig welfare: Improving pig welfare - what are the ways forward?, Copenhagen, 2015-04-29/2015-04-30
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
LR - Animal Nutrition
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2015

Group housing of gestating sows has become mandatory in the EU due to welfare concerns about individually confined sows. During lactation, however, most sows are housed in farrowing crates. A multi-suckling (MS) system provides a larger and more complex environment with more possibilities to express natural behaviours. By housing several sows together with their litters, MS-systems can enhance piglet social development and have the potential to stimulate socially facilitated eating behaviour. MS-systems, however, also pose risks including disrupted nursing behaviour and increased piglet mortality. Thus, MS-systems can provide both advantages and disadvantages for sow and piglet welfare. In the Netherlands, a new MS-system for five sows and their litters has been developed, in which sows can move freely and piglets can enter the communal area after 1 week of age. The system includes a communal floor-feeding area where piglets can learn to eat from the sows. MS-raised piglets showed indicators of improved pre- and post-weaning development. Pre-weaning mortality, particularly before mixing litters, was however an issue that needed attention. In a new version of the system, this issue will be addressed. In addition, in future experiments we will investigate performance of sows and piglets during a 9-week lactation period in which a more gradual weaning process is stimulated using intermittent-suckling.

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