Behaviour and hygiene of finishing pigs housed in ‘Moving floor’ pens : a comparative study
Sammanfattning: Moving floor AB are developing self-cleaning cubicles for pigs and calves. There are however no present published reports on the effects on pigs’ behaviour in this system. The aims of this study were to see how workload, pig behaviour, pen and pig hygiene, and resting are influenced by this design and if it will change over time. A focal animal observation study with continuous frequency recording was performed, including both on farm observations and observations from video recordings. Recordings on farm included 120 finishing pigs (TN70 x Danish duroc) divided in six pens each between the Moving floor system (MF) and a control group (C) kept in a traditional stable with long trough pens. For behavioural observations, four focal animals per pen were observed 5 min each during several occasions (108 observations in total). Hygiene in the pens and on the pigs was assessed during five consecutive days and the time farmer put on routine work was measured once in both systems. From the video recordings were three MF pens and two C pen studied. Three focal animals per pen were observed for 10 minutes each during eighteen days in three different time periods (week 2, 4-5 and 7, 432 observations in total). In addition, resting behaviour, both preferred position in the pen and eventual disturbance by first movement of the floor, were observed from the video recordings. The results show that pigs housed in MF in general behave similar to pigs housed in C i.e. most behaviours occur with the same frequency but were significantly different for some behaviours. MF was standing, manipulating litter, interior and empty feeding trough less than C (p < 0.05) during farm observations. During video observation was however MF laying and sitting down more than C in week seven (p < 0.05). C pigs were laying more in the beginning of production than in week seven (p = 0.004). MF pigs was standing more in week two compared with C for the same week (p=0.028). Rooting a pen mate where more frequently performed in MF than in C (p=0.022). The frequency of rooting the empty feeding trough was increased for MF from week two to week seven (p<0.05) and was performed more in MF than C in last week of observation (p=0.004). Manipulation of interior increased in C from the beginning of production to week seven (p=0.027) but was not different compared with MF. Frequency of fighting was performed more in MF for week two than the same period for C (p= 0.025). Fighting was however increased in C from week two to seven while decreasing in MF. The differences observed were more likely to depend on the larger space provided in MF that reduce some stress factors, rather than the floor rotation. The larger space during resting seems to give a higher chance of undisturbed sleep from other pen mates in MF. Hygiene was good in both systems. All pigs in MF pens were considered clean in 99 % of observed occasions compared with 83% in C pens (p-value < 0.05). Pigs housed in MF pens do pick and use a specific dunging area just as in conventional pens which give an overall clean pen. Pigs choose to rest in clean areas of the pen independent of the housing system. The pigs’ in MF seems to be more active by the first movement of the floor. However, pigs in C do also move in intervals at this time of night why this needs to be studied further. This study was performed on a limited number of pigs and further investigation in larger scientific studies is needed to draw more robust conclusions about this new housing system.
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