Skip to main content Accessibility help

Reproductive performance of sows entering stable and dynamic groups after mating

  • P. H. Simmins (a1)


Housing soivs in large groups is increasing in popularity but some group-housing systems may compromise subsequent reproductive performance. An experiment was designed to test this hypothesis using multiparous sows weaned at 21 ±2 days. Two treatments were studied: a stable group of 12 sows and a dynamic group of 18 sows. Both treatments had similar space allowances in the lying area (1·24 m2 per sow). Sows were allocated to treatment within 1 week of service and remained on treatment until after day 40 of pregnancy. Each stable treatment group remained unchanged, whereas sows were replaced weekly in the dynamic treatment. Sows were fed using a single electronic feeder for each pen. All sows were treated similarly for the rest of pregnancy. Eighty and 120 sows from the stable and dynamic treatments respectively completed pregnancy. Five second parity sows from the dynamic treatment were removed having suffered from aggression. The farrowing rate was 0·78 and 0·85 for stable and dynamic treatment sows respectively. The stable treatment sows had larger litters and a higher proportion of litters having 10 or more total piglets born (P < 0·01). The stable treatment showed a significantly heavier (P < 0·05) litter weight for total pigs born (16·9 v. 14.6 (s.e.d. 0·57) kg per litter). The parities were uneven so the data must be treated with caution. However, the results indicate that the present advice, that soivs should be housed in stable groups for the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, should remain unchanged.



Hide All
Agricultural Development and Advisory Service. 1985. Service management. Booklet no. 2276. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Alnwick.
Bokma, S. 1990. Housing and management of dry sows in groups in practice: partly slatted systems. In Electronic identification in pig production. RASE monograph series, no. 10, pp. 3745.
De Koning, R., Backus, G. B. C. and Vermeer, H. M. 1990. Welfare, behaviour and performance: partly slatted systems. In Electronic identification in pig production. RASE monograph series no. 10, pp. 5362.
Edwards, S. A., Armsby, A. W. and Large, J. W. 1988a. The effect of diet form on an individual feeding system with electronic identification for group-housed dry sows. Research and Development in Agriculture 5:129132.
Edwards, S. A., Armsby, A. W. and Large, J. W. 1988b. Effects of feed station design on the behaviour of group-housed sows using an electronic individual feeding system. Livestock Production Science 19: 511522.
Edwards, S. A. and Riley, J. E. 1986. The application of the electronic identification and computerized feed dispensing system in dry sow housing. Pig News and Information 7: 295298.
Edwards, S. A., Simmins, P. H., Walker, A. J. and Beckett, M. P. 1986. Behaviour of 400 sows in a single group with electronic individual feeding. Proceedings of the international symposium on applied ethology in farm animals, Balatonfured, Hungary.
England, D. C. and Spurr, D. T. 1969. Litter size of swine confined during gestation. Journal of Animal Science 28: 220223.
Fahmy, M. H. and Dufour, J. J. 1976. Effects of post-weaning stress and feeding management on return to oestrus and reproductive traits during early pregnancy in swine. Animal Production 23:103110.
Genstat 5 Committee. 1987. Genstat 5 reference manual. Oxford University Press.
Hemsworth, P. H. and Barnett, J. L. 1990. Behavioural responses affecting gilt and sow reproduction. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, supplement no. 40, pp. 343354.
Hemsworth, P. H., Salden, N. T. C. J. and Hoogerbrugge, A. 1982. The influence of the post-weaning social environment on the weaning to mating interval of the sow. Animal Production 35: 4148.
Holzer-Dolf, C. 1985. Rangordnungskampfe von Galtsauen in Kastenstanden und in Gruppenhaltung. In Aktuelle Arbeiten zur Artgemassen Tierhaltuug. KTBL-Schrift vol. 377, pp. 142152.
Hughes, P. E. and Varley, M. A. 1980. Reproduction in the pig. Butterworths, London.
Hunter, E. J., Broom, D. M., Edwards, S. A. and Sibly, R. M. 1988. Social hierarchy and feeder access in a group of 20 sows using a computer-controlled feeder. Animal Production 47:139148.
Knap, J. 1969. Effect of group and individual housing of sows after weaning on length of the interval to the first mating and conception rate. Animal Breeding Abstracts 38: 641642 (abstr.).
Sambraus, H. H. 1981. Das sozialverhalten von sauen bei gruppenhaltung. Zuchtungskunde 53:147157.
Schmidt, W. E., Stevenson, J. S. and Davis, D. L. 1985. Reproductive traits of sows penned individually or in groups until 35 days after breeding. Journal of Animal Science 60: 755759.
Schlegel, W. and Sklenar, V. 1972. The effect of different management systems on reproductive performance in sows. Animal Breeding Abstracts 41: 551 (abstr.).
Simmins, P. H. 1990. Electronic sow feeder stations — experiences in the U.K. In Electronic identification in pig production, RASE, monograph series no. 10, pp. 8390.
Varley, M. A. 1991. Stress and reproduction. Pig News and Information 12: 567571.
Varley, M. A., Peaker, R. E. and Atkinson, T. 1984. Effect of lactational length of the sow on plasma progesterone, oestradiol 17-β and embryo survival. Animal Production 38: 113119.


Reproductive performance of sows entering stable and dynamic groups after mating

  • P. H. Simmins (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed