Injuries, lameness, and cleanliness of sows in four group-housing gestation facilities in Ontario
Katherine Zurbrigg, RVT, BSc, MSc; Timothy Blackwell, DVM, MSc, PhD
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This study compared proportion of animals with shoulder and vulvar lesions and scores for cleanliness, body condition, and lameness in sows housed in four different group-housing facilities. Inspectors visited each herd once per month and scored sows for each parameter. All farms housed gestating sows in groups, but pen designs and management differed on each farm. Differences among herds were identified for severity of lameness, vulvar lesions 2 and 3 (small and severe bite wounds), mild shoulder lacerations, and cleanliness scores of 1 (clean) and 3 (hooves and 50% of legs and body soiled). No differences in body condition scores were observed among herds. Newly mixed sows often fight to establish a social hierarchy. In this case study, different herds demonstrated differences in parameters that represent aggressive encounters, ie, degrees of lameness, injury, and cleanliness. Pen design and management factors may be associated with aggressive encounters among newly mixed sows. Different group-housing systems are capable of maintaining acceptable body condition scores in sows.
Keywords: group housing, gestation, injury, body condition
Cite as: Zurbrigg K, Blackwell T. Injuries, lameness, and cleanliness of sows in four group-housing gestation facilities in Ontario. J Swine Health Prod 2006;14(4):202-206.
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