Objective—To compare the location and severity of
injuries in pregnant sows housed in individual gestation
stalls with that in pregnant sows housed in
dynamic groups in pens with electronic sow feeders.
Animals—100 pregnant sows of parity 1 to 3 and various
Procedure—Fifty sows each were randomly allotted
to gestation stalls or group pens with electronic
sow feeders. Injuries were scored on the basis of
location, number, and depth of wounds. Injury
scores for sows in both housing systems were
compared during a period of 90 days. The influence
of factors such as duration of stay in the housing
system, parity, and body weight on sow injuries
was also examined.
Results—Injury scores were higher in group pens
with electronic sow feeders. As body weight
increased, injury scores decreased for sows housed
in group pens with electronic sow feeders and
increased for sows housed in gestation stalls. There
was a significant negative association between second
parity and total injury scores.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Modifications
in housing system design and management procedures
are needed to reduce injuries in pregnant sows.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1334–1338)
Objective—To compare well-being, performance,
and longevity of gestating sows housed in stalls or in
pens with an electronic sow feeder (ESF).
Animals—382 pregnant sows of parities 1 through 6.
Procedure—Sows were housed in separate stalls
(n = 176) or group pens (206) with an ESF. Well-being
of sows was assessed at various time points in terms
of injuries, salivary cortisol concentration, and behavior
in a novel arena or to a novel object. Farrowing performance
and longevity of sows were also assessed.
Results—Total injury scores (TIS) of sows in pens
were significantly higher at initial introduction and
mixing. In stall-housed sows, TIS was significantly
higher during late gestation. The TIS and cortisol concentration
were significantly lower in stall-housed
sows, compared with values for sows in pens. As parity
increased, the likelihood of higher median TIS
decreased significantly in pen-housed sows and
increased significantly in stall-housed sows. The TIS
of sows in pens was negatively correlated with body
weight and backfat thickness, whereas these correlations
were positive in stall-housed sows. Farrowing
performance and results for novel arena or objects did
not differ. Proportion of sows removed was significantly
higher for pens than for stalls; lameness was
the major reason for removal for both systems.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Stalls impose
space restrictions for larger sows, resulting in injuries
during late gestation. Interventions are needed to
minimize aggression during initial introduction and
mixing and at the ESF in pens to reduce severe
injuries or lameness of gestating sows. (Am J Vet Res