Locomotion Disorders and Skin and Claw Lesions in Gestating Sows Housed in Dynamic versus Static Groups

Emilie-Julie Bos, Dominiek Maes, Miriam M J van Riet, Sam Millet, Bart Ampe, Geert P J Janssens, Frank A M Tuyttens

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


    Lameness and lesions to the skin and claws of sows in group housing are commonly occurring indicators of reduced welfare. Typically, these problems are more common in group housing than in individual housing systems. Group management type (dynamic versus static) and stage of gestation influence the behavior of the animals, which in turn influences the occurrence of these problems. The present study compared prevalence, incidence and mean scores of lameness and skin and claw lesions in static versus dynamic group housed sows at different stages of gestation during three consecutive reproductive cycles. A total of 10 Belgian sow herds were monitored; 5 in which dynamic groups and 5 in which static groups were utilized. All sows were visually assessed for lameness and skin lesions three times per cycle and the claws of the hind limbs were assessed once per cycle. Lameness and claw lesions were assessed using visual analogue scales. Static groups, in comparison with dynamic groups, demonstrated lower lameness scores (P<0.05) and decreased skin lesion prevalence (24.9 vs. 47.3%, P<0.05) at the end of gestation. There was no difference between treatment group regarding claw lesion prevalence with 75.5% of sows demonstrating claw lesions regardless of group management. Prevalences of lameness (22.4 vs. 8.9%, P<0.05) and skin lesions (46.6 vs. 4.4%, P<0.05) were highest during the group-housed phase compared to the individually housed phases. Although the prevalence of lameness and skin lesions did not differ three days after grouping versus at the end of the group-housing phase, their incidence peaked during the first three days after moving from the insemination stalls to the group. In conclusion, the first three days after grouping was the most risky period for lameness incidence, but there was no significant difference between static or dynamic group management.

    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    Artikel nummere0163625
    TijdschriftPloS one
    Pagina's (van-tot)e0163625
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 30-sep.-2016


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