[ASC-media] Farrowing fun makes for contented sows -- PORK CRC Media Release

Brendon Cant brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Sep 5 15:22:46 PDT 2018

PORK CRC Media Release -- September 6, 2018


Farrowing fun makes for contented sows 


Innovative research in Pork CRC Project 1A-111 by scientists from University
of Melbourne, Rivalea Australia, SARDI and Sun Pork Farms into the
contentment or affective state of sows housed in traditional farrowing
systems suggested that providing enrichment as straw or lucerne hay two days
before farrowing might enhance the affective state of older sows and
certainly reduce still birth rate.


The project, 'Developing ways to measure and increase sow contentment',
comprised two studies supported by Pork CRC and a third at SunPork Farms
South Australia as part of an honours program. All were conducted with sows
in farrowing crates. 


SARDI sows were offered lucerne hay as enrichment pre and post farrowing. In
a large study at Rivalea the enrichment treatments included hanging cotton
rope, straw for two days before farrowing and straw before farrowing and
through lactation, lucerne hay for two days before farrowing and lucerne hay
before farrowing and through lactation. At SunPork Farms, sows were offered
lucerne chaff before farrowing and through lactation.


In all studies enrichment with lucerne hay or straw reduced still birth rate
and in the study at SunPork Farms enrichment also increased colostrum intake
and piglet weight at 7,14 and 21 days of lactation. 


In the study at Rivalea, provision of straw or lucerne hay before farrowing
(two days) and before farrowing and through lactation increased anticipatory
behaviours to feeding in multiparous sows but not gilts, suggesting an
improvement in affective state.


Former Pork CRC CEO Roger Campbell noted it was interesting that in the
smaller SARDI study enrichment increased total nesting behaviours and
reduced sham chewing. 


"In the large Rivalea study there were no treatment effects on nesting
behaviour and control sows exhibited significantly less sham chewing and
pain related behaviours than sows offered the lucerne hay or straw
enrichments," Dr Campbell said.


"There was no effect of treatment on subsequent reproduction in any of the
studies, but a tendency in the Rivalea study for enriched sows to have a
higher farrowing rate than control sows." 


The studies were some of the first to explore the contentment/affective
state of sows housed in traditional farrowing systems. 


This intriguing research is all detailed in the final report on Pork CRC's
website at  <http://www.porkcrc.com.au> www.porkcrc.com.au 


For detail, the researchers can be contacted:

Rebecca Doyle rebecca.doyle at unimelb.edu.au
<mailto:rebecca.doyle at unimelb.edu.au> 

Rebecca Morrison RMorrison at rivalea.com.au <mailto:RMorrison at rivalea.com.au> 

Kate Plush kate.plush at sunporkfarms.com.au
<mailto:kate.plush at sunporkfarms.com.au> 


 <http://www.porkcrc.com.au> www.porkcrc.com.au


Authorised by Pork CRC and issued on its behalf by 

Brendon Cant, Pork CRC Communications Manager, Mob 0417 930 536.

<mailto:roger.campbell at porkcrc.com.au?subject=Media%20Release> Dr Roger
Campbell, Pork CRC, Mob 0407 774 714.


Contented sows.docx/RCGC030918


Brendon Cant

Communications Manager

Tel +61 8 9430 9463

Mob +61 417 930 536


CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork

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