Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1991

Abstract

A preference testing apparatus was designed to give sows continuous access to three farrowing crates with different degrees of visual enclosure. A ‘fully enclosed' crate had solid black panels on the sides and top of the crate, a ‘solid-sided’ crate had the side panels only and an ‘open crate’ had no solid panels over the crate's tubular framework. The crates radiated from a central area sufficient for sows to enter or leave any crate freely. Video recording was used to determine sow position from 3 days before to 6 days after farrowing. The results indicated that younger sows (second or third panty) preferred the enclosure offered by the solid side panels during and for several days after farrowing (P < 0.05). Older sows, which had previously farrowed a number of times in an open crate, had no clear preference. A solid panel overhead did not improve, and may have reduced, the acceptance of a crate with solid sides. It is concluded that less experienced sows prefer a degree of enclosure on the sides of the farrowing crate, but that this preference largely disappears with repeated experience of open crates.

Comments

FINAL EDITED VERSION OF MATERIAL. NOT FORMATTED FOR PUBLICATION.

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