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Paper in the farrowing quarters: not only for the piglets...

Supplying the sows with paper to improve their welfare.

Supplying the sows with paper to improve their welfare.

It is easy to see the reaction of the sows (of all of them!) when we supply them with paper. A handful in front of their snout or at the reach of their mouth is enough... oxytocin! It is like giving an injection!

Goal

Facilitate the sow's farrowing with paper.

 

Description

We all already know that the use of paper in the farrowing quarters is very helpful to reduce piglet mortality due to crushings. The supplying of paper before the farrowing is a proven and used practice. The piglets are born into a more comfortable environment (the thermal perception improves by +5°C; Casanovas, 2011), avoiding that after the farrowing the wet piglets slip on the plastic floor. But not everybody knows the important role of paper supplied to the sows as an improver of welfare in this special and difficult moment, because the sow cannot build its nest as in the wild. In its natural environment, the sow would start building its nest several days before farrowing. The impossibility of building the nest creates a state of anxiety in the sow typical of the coming of the farrowing. Inside the crate, the sow bites the bars, tries to root, and its heart and respiratory rate increase because of the frustrating situation. Yun et al. showed, in 2014, that the supply of plenty of material for building the nest causes an increase in the levels of oxytocin in plasma measured in blood. As we know well, oxytocin is the labour hormone that helps to expel the foetuses thanks to the the uterine contractions. It is easy to see the reaction of the sows (of all of them!) when we supply them with paper. A handful in front of their snout or at the reach of their mouth is enough... oxytocin! It is like giving an injection!

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Article Comments

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BelgiporkPig producer07-Feb-2017 (8 months 11 days ago)

I have no doubt that giving paper to sows has a positive effect on behavior before farrowing, but what is the effect of the use of paper in the manure pit? Does it dissolve? What is the effect on the pumpability of the manure?

pigya07-Feb-2017 (8 months 11 days ago)

which paper is good?. anything?

Telma08-Feb-2017 (8 months 10 days ago)

I you use paper without plastic, mainly just white papaer or newspapers or even some coloured magazine papers without plastic no problem..but....in fact if you have very small diameter tubes you may have problems, the best in this case is filling the manure pit with some water before using the paper, so it can dissolves better during lactation time. Most of the cases we have no problem with manure. You can do a test with the paper: take a sample on your mouth and check if it dissolves in contact with saliva, or even in a glass test full with water. Paper must be cut in small thin stripes as you see, some farmers use their on office paper destroyer machine.

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