post-imageDr. Gosia Zobel, AgResearch Ltd. As the public becomes more knowledgeable and more aware of food production practices, the need to provide assurances about the quality of life of our farm animals is growing in importance. This is, however, easier said than done given that many of the people not involved in agriculture rarely ask about how much milk a cow is producing but rather focus their questions on whether she is ‘happy’. As a
post-imageDr. Victoria Sandilands, Behavioural Scientist The poultry industry has evolved over the last several decades and it is important to understand how and why those changes have taken place. In this article we will explore the modern laying hen and why we can be proud of these birds. The modern laying hen evolved from the insectivorous jungle fowl, which lived in dense forests and spent 60-80% of the day foraging. Historically speaking, poultry were the
By Dr. Joao H.C. Costa Why group housing? Housing of milk-fed calves in pairs or groups is rapidly increasing in popularity on Canadian dairy farms. Two key reasons behind this change are the use of automatic feeders to deliver milk and grain, and the potential of reducing labour requirements per head. Many studies support the practice of keeping calves in groups from birth. For example, calves can perform social behaviours and are better able to
By Victoria Kyeiwaa, Prairie Swine Centre Research on different enrichment materials for pigs has shown that giving appropriate enrichments to growing pigs can result in reduced aggression, reduced fear, improved growth and fewer behavioural vices such as tail-biting. Some commonly used enrichment materials are straw, chains, wood, rope, mushroom compost, wood shavings, garden hose, peat moss and rubber balls. Although European research has identified straw and other malleable and consumable materials as being optimal, there
Confinement of breeding sows is one of the most controversial issues in livestock production (1). In the United States, the majority (~70%) of sows are housed in confinement facilities (1,2). The most common housing system for pregnant sows is gestation stalls (2,3). Gestation stalls were developed in the 1960s and gained popularity because they allow for better management and observation of sows with respect to nutrition, health, and disease compared to extensive systems (e.g. pens).