Roy, C., Kyeiwaa, V., Mancera, K. F. et al. 2022. Effects of enrichment type, presentation and social status on enrichment use and behavior of sows—Part 2: Free access stall feeding. Animals 12(14), 1768.

Continuing with previous research by our group in an ESF system, four types of enrichment treatments were assessed in gestating sows housed in Free Access Stalls: (1) Constant: constant provision of wood on chain; (2) Rotate: rotation of rope, straw and wood; (3) Stimulus: rotation of enrichments with an acoustic cue; and (4) Control: no enrichment. Treatments had a 12 day-duration. Four groups (28 ± 2 sows) were studied from weeks 6 to 14 of gestation. Groups received all treatments in random order. Three dominant and 3 subordinates per pen were selected using a feed competition test. Digital photos were collected at 10 min intervals for 8 h on days 1, 8, 10 and 12 to record interactions with enrichment. Skin lesions were assessed on days 1 and 12, and salivary cortisol was assessed in weeks 6, 10 and 14 of gestation. More enrichment use was observed in Rotate and Stimulus treatments compared to Constant, and more sows contacted enrichment when straw was provided in the Rotate and Stimulus treatments. There was no difference in the amount of enrichment use by dominants and subordinates, no cortisol concentration elevation in subordinate sows nor any difference in lesion scores. In conclusion, social status had little impact and feeding system is important to reduce stress and aggression.

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