Page 19 - Australia Pork Newspaper
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Sow with lucerne at Roseworthy Agricultural College.
Dr Rebecca Morrison of Rivalea Australia was one of the participants in Pork CRC Project 1A-111. There was a tendency in the Rivalea study for enriched sows to have a higher farrowing rate than control sows.
Dr Kate Plush, SunPork Farms and Dr Cameron Ralph, SARDI helped report on the findings of Pork CRC Project 1A-111.
“In the large Rivalea study there were no treat- ment effects on nesting behaviour and control sows exhibited signifi- cantly less sham chewing and pain-related behav- iours than sows offered the lucerne hay or straw enrichments,” Dr Camp- bell said.
Farrowing fun makes for contented sows
INNOVATIVE research in Pork CRC Project 1A-111 by scientists from the University of Melbourne, Rivalea Australia, SARDI and SunPork Farms into the contentment or affective state of sows housed in traditional farrow- ing systems suggested providing enrichment as straw or lucerne hay two days before farrow- ing might enhance the affective state of older sows and certainly re- duce stillbirth rate.
offered lucerne hay as en- richment before and af- ter farrowing in the first study at SARDI, a hang- ing cotton rope, straw for two days before farrow- ing, straw before farrow- ing and through lactation, lucerne hay for two days before farrowing, lucerne hay before and through lactation in a large study at Rivalea Australia and lucerne chaff before far- rowing and through lacta- tion in the study at Sun- Pork Farms.
richment increased total nesting behaviours and reduced sham chewing.
The project, titled ‘De- veloping ways to measure and increase sow con- tentment’, comprised two studies supported by Pork CRC and a third study con- ducted at SunPork Farms South Australia as part of an honours program.
Dr Rebecca Doyle, Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne was project leader for Pork CRC Project 1A-111.
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All studies were con- ducted with sows in far- rowing crates, with sows
In all studies, enrich- ment with lucerne hay or straw reduced stillbirth rate and in the study at SunPork Farms enrich- ment also increased co- lostrum intake and piglet weight at seven, 14 and 21 days of lactation.
“There was no effect of treatment on subsequent reproduction in any of the studies, but a tendency in the Rivalea study for enriched sows to have a higher farrowing rate than control sows.”
In the study at Rivalea, provision of straw or lu- cerne hay before farrow- ing (two days) and before farrowing and through lactation increased an- ticipatory behaviours to feeding in multiparous sows but not gilts, sug- gesting an improvement in affective state.
The studies were some of the first to explore the con- tentment/affective state of sows housed in traditional farrowing systems.
Former Pork CRC CEO Roger Campbell noted it was interesting that in the smaller SARDI study en-
For detail, the research- ers can be contacted: Rebecca Doyle (rebecca. au); Rebecca Morrison (RMorrison@rivalea.; and Kate Plush (kate.plush@sunpork
This intriguing research is all detailed in the fi- nal report on Pork CRC’s website at au
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Australian Pork Newspaper, September 2018 – Page 19

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