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dc.contributor.authorKing, Rebecca Louise-
dc.descriptionPhD Thesisen_US
dc.description.abstractAlternative farrowing systems encompass all indoor-based farrowing systems which provide extended periods of sow non-confinement to improve welfare. As farms convert to alternatives, sows are often housed in different farrowing systems across parities. The first study utilised records from 753 sows on a farm using three farrowing systems - pens, crates or temporary crates - to determine if interchanging sows between systems increased piglet mortality. Total piglet mortality was lowest for sows who returned to the same system amongst pens and crates, confirming that farrowing system consistency is key to piglet survival. The second study compared the farrowing behaviour, in a free farrowing pen, of 22 sows which had previously farrowed in either the same or a more confined system. Previously confined sows exhibited more posture changes during farrowing and subsequently showed a shorter average duration and a lower percentage of success during nursing bouts, indicating that sow nursing behaviour was impaired. Temporary crates confine sows during farrowing and early post-partum, before being opened to provide additional space for the sow during lactation. The third study measured the impact of temporary crate opening on piglet mortality and sow behaviour amongst 416 sows, whilst trialling different crate opening procedures. Piglet mortality increased immediately after crate opening, and was reduced by opening crates within each farrowing house on an individual litter rather than batch basis. During lactation, piglets are routinely cross-fostered between sows to facilitate piglet growth and survival. The final study compared sow behaviour and piglet weight gain after cross-fostering or sham-fostering amongst 48 crated and penned sows. Both foster piglet weight gain and successful nursing bout frequency were reduced to a greater extent amongst penned cross-foster litters. The results will assist farmers in managing alternative farrowing systems, facilitating further commercial uptake and thus improving the welfare of sows and piglets.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipSainsbury’s Plc; The Perry Foundation;en_US
dc.publisherNewcastle Universityen_US
dc.titleManaging alternative farrowing systems for optimised sow behaviour and piglet performanceen_US
Appears in Collections:School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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