Management Changes During Lactation and Nursery Result in Easier Handling and Increased Average Daily Gain During the Entire Life of the Pig

Feb 26, 2024

Research conducted as part of the NSERC Indistrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare research program has shown management modifications made during the lactation and nursery periods of development result in easier handling and increased average daily gain through the entire life of the pig.How early life management of pigs influences long-term welfare was discussed as part of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare Research Forum held last month in conjunction with the Banff Pork Seminar.

Siba Khalife, a PhD candidate swine behavior and welfare at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, explains researchers compared the lifetime effects of management modifications during the lactation period, the nursery period and both, including the provision of chewable materials such as burlap and rope, increased space to facilitate play and increased human contact.

Quote-Siba Khalife-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:

What we have right now is data that is being taken at all different stages of the production cycle following the same pigs so that we can see the development of their behavior and of their growth.This data is tail biting data that we took, we also took data measuring the handleability of the pigs to see if they were any easier to handle.

We also took average daily gain data from different parts of the production cycle including birth, farrowing, weaning and then the middle of the grower stage and slaughter.We're wanting to compare this data so that we can see if the growth trajectory of the pigs are any different if they were given those early life management modifications or not.

So far what we have is preliminary data.We're still working on analysing everything but we do know that the pigs were easier to handle if they were given the early life modifications in both the lactation and the nursery periods.At the end of nursery, we realised that they were easier to handle and they also had higher average daily gain.

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