The following research was undertaken to determine the welfare issues, particularly for sows housed in conventional farrowing crates.
If you would like more general information about free farrowing, visit why free farrowing?
When researching welfare issues to do with the farrowing crate most experiments are designed comparing animals in a conventional farrowing crate and a loose-housed system. The typical research questions asked are:
- What are the effects on stress physiology and behaviour?
- What are the effects on maternal behaviour?
These references are relevant for crated sow welfare and are arranged in descending date order.
- Nowland, T.L., van Wettere, W.H.E.J. and Plush, K.J., 2019. Allowing sows to farrow unconfined has positive implications for sow and piglet welfare. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 221: 104872. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.104872
- Plush, K., McKenny, L., Nowland, T., van Wettere, W. and Terry, R., 2019. Reducing sow stress around farrowing. Report prepared for the Co-operative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) project # 1C-114). http://porkcrc.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/1C-114-Summary.pdf
- Rioja-Lang, F.C., Seddon, Y.M. and Brown, J.A., 2018. Shoulder lesions in sows: a review of their causes, prevention, and treatment. Journal of Swine Health and Production, 26: 101-107. http://www.aasv.org/shap.html
- Baxter, E.M., Andersen, I.L. and Edwards, S.A., 2018. Sow welfare in the farrowing crate and alternatives. In Advances in Pig Welfare. Woodhead Publishing. pp. 27-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-101012-9.00002-2
- Muns, R., Malmkvist, J., Larsen, M.L.V., Sørensen, D. and Pedersen, L.J., 2016. High environmental temperature around farrowing induced heat stress in crated sows. Journal of Animal Science, 94: 377-384. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2015-9623
- Hales, J., Moustsen, V.A., Devreese, A.M., Nielsen, M.B.F. and Hansen, C.F., 2015. Comparable farrowing progress in confined and loose housed hyper-prolific sows. Livestock Science, 171: 64–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2014.11.009
- Andersen, I.L., Vasdal, G. and Pedersen, L.J., 2014. Nest building and posture changes and activity budget of gilts housed in pens and crates. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 159: 29-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.07.002
- Moustsen, V.A., Lahrmann, H.P. and D’Eath, R.B., 2011. Relationship between size and age of modern hyper-prolific crossbred sows. Livestock Science, 141: 272-275. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2011.06.008
- Oliviero, C., Heinonen, M., Valros, A. and Peltoniemi, O., 2010. Environmental and sow-related factors affecting the duration of farrowing. Animal Reproduction Science, 119: 85-91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2009.12.009
- Jarvis, S., D’Eath, R.B., Robson, S.K., and Lawrence, A.B., 2006. The effect of confinement during lactation on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and behaviour of primiparous sows. Physiology and Behaviour, 87: 345-352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.10.004
- Jarvis, S., Reed, B.T., Lawrence, A.B., Calvert, S.K. and Stevenson, J., 2004. Peri-natal environmental effects on maternal behaviour, pituitary and adrenal activation, and the progress of parturition in the primiparous sow. Animal Welfare, 13: 171-181.
- Jarvis, S., Calvert, S.K., Stevenson, J., van Leeuwen, N. and Lawrence, A.B., 2002. Pituitary-adrenal activation in pre-parturient pigs (Sus scrofa) is associated with behavioural restriction due to lack of space rather than nesting substrate. Animal Welfare, 11: 371-384.
- Jarvis, S., van der Vegt, B.J., Lawrence, A.B., McLean, K.A., Deans, L.A., Chirniside, J. and Calvert, S.K., 2001. The effect of parity and environmental restriction on behavioural and physiological responses of pre-parturient pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 71: 203-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1591(00)00183-0
- Jarvis, S., Lawrence, A.B., McLean, K.A., Chirnside, J., Deans, L.A. and Calvert, S.K., 1998. The effect of environment on plasma cortisol and b-endorphin in the parturient pig and the involvement of endogenous opioids. Animal Reproduction Science, 52: 139-151. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-4320(98)00090-6
- Jarvis, S., Lawrence, A.B., McLean, K.A., Deans, L., Chirnside, J. and Calvert, S.K., 1997. The effect of environment on behavioural activity, ACTH, β-endorphin and cortisol in pre-parturient gilts. Animal Science, 65: 465-472. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1357729800008663
- Lawrence, A.B., McLean, K.A., Jarvis, S., Gilbert, C.L. and Petherick, J.C., 1997. Stress and parturition in the pig. Reproduction in Domestic Animals (Germany).
- Cronin, G.M., Smith, J.A., Hodge, F.M. and Hemsworth, P.H., 1994. The behaviour of primiparous sows around farrowing in response to restraint and straw bedding. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 39: 269-280. https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(94)90162-7
- Lawrence, A.B., Petherick, J.C., McLean, K.A., Deans, L.A., Chirnside, J., Gaughan, A., Clutton, E. and Terlouw, E.M.C., 1994. The effect of environment on behaviour, plasma cortisol and prolactin in parturient sows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 39: 313-330. https://doi.org/10.1016/0168-1591(94)90165-1
- Cronin, G.M., Barnett, J.L., Hodge, F.M., Smith, J.A. and McCallum, T.H., 1991. The welfare of pigs in two farrowing/lactation environments: cortisol responses of sows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 32: 117-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-1591(05)80036-X
- Hansen, K.E. and Curtis, S.E., 1980. Prepartal activity of sows in stall or pen. Journal of Animal Science, 51: 456-460. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas1980.512456x