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Why Free Farrowing?

To answer the question "Why Free Farrowing?" we must first realise that the majority of sows are housed in farrowing crates and ask why farrowing crates are so popular and what are the welfare issues they raise? Central to this is an understanding of the need for sows to perform certain genetically programmed behaviours, such as nest-building, and why these are so important for welfare. Concerns about free farrowing systems centre around piglet mortality so it is also important to ask "can we keep piglets safe without farrowing crates"?

Click on the links below for information surrounding these questions.


Why Are There Farrowing Crates?

Crate letter box

Further information on when and why the crate was first introduced and why it persists

What Are The Welfare Issues With Crates?

Crate room ad

Further information on the welfare concerns surrounding the farrowing crate


Why is Nest-Building Behaviour Important?

Sow nesting

More information on the importance of nest-building, including an illustrative video

Can We Keep Piglets Safe Without Crates?

Piglet suckling

Further information on survival of piglets in free farrowing systems


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