Ceballos, M. C., Rocha Góis, K. C., Parsons, T. D. et al. 2021. Impact of duration of farrowing crate closure on physical indicators of sow welfare and piglet mortality. Animals 11(4), 969.

This study examines effects of opening hinged farrowing crates 4 or 7 days post-farrowing. Sows (n = 696) allocated to 3 treatments: PC—crate closed, T4—crate opened day 4, and T7—crate opened day 7 were assessed for body condition score (BCS), lameness, shoulder lesions and teat lesions. Piglet mortality was higher in T4 (27.8%) compared to T7 (23.9%) and PC (25.9%) (p < 0.05) which did not differ with T7 (p > 0.05). No difference in risk of being laid on was found 1–3 days post-farrowing with all crates closed (p > 0.05). Day 4–6, piglets in T4, experienced higher risk of being laid on compared to PC (IRR = 2.5, p < 0.05), and T7 (IRR = 2.3, p < 0.05). Days 7–15 post-farrowing, risk of piglets dying from being laid on was higher in open crates, T4 and T7, versus PC (T4: IRR = 3.89, T7: IRR = 3.5, p < 0.05). We found higher risk for teat lesions in PC sows at weaning (p < 0.05). With crates open, risk of piglets being laid on increased between 7 days and weaning, but total piglet mortality did not differ and the sow’s risk for teat lesions decreased. Our results, therefore, support opening crates at day 7.

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