PigSAFE stands for Piglet and Sow Alternative Farrowing Environment. It is a farrowing and lactation pen developed by researchers at SRUC and Newcastle University with industry and NGOs involved in the research programme to re-design the farrowing environment to optimise animal welfare and economics (read more about PigSAFE research and how it performs in trials).
The most important concept of PigSAFE is that it is designed in order to stimulate good maternal behaviour, giving the sow optimal, functional spaces whilst still providing for stockperson safety and piglet protection.
The sow is given:
- Freedom of movement at all times
- Opportunity to nest-build
- Enclosed nest-site
- Sloped walls for support in lying-down situations
- Opportunity to contact neighbouring sows
- Opportunity to dung away from nest-site
- Opportunity to feed away from dunging and resting areas
The piglets are given:
- Improved udder access
- Sloped walls for protection during sow lying events
- Appropriate creep environment
- Reduced spread of infection between pens
- Opportunity to experience an enriched environment
- Opportunity to dung away from resting areas
The staff are assured:
- Fast and safe inspection of piglets
- Easy maintenance of good hygiene in the pens (separate dunging area)
- Easy provision of nest building materials
- Ability to separate sow from piglets and staff for husbandry procedures
- Multiple access points for easy inspection and movement of animals
How to Build a PigSAFE Pen
There are two options for building a PigSAFE pen. The first option is our original with the voluntary feeding stall. This option has undergone formal research and was originally built by Quality Equipment Ltd.
Farmers interested in PigSAFE often request building it without the voluntary feeding stall. This option has also been designed.
We have specific recommendations and top tips relating to building a PigSAFE pen which we recommend you contact us about. Alternatively to get information on different design criteria and their dimensions visit our specific pen features page.