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).
Dr. Elda Dervishi, University of Alberta As we face the increasing size of the human population, it is projected that meat consumption will increase as well. At the same time, consumers are more aware and have increased their interest in traits related to animal welfare and health. By far, most pigs are finishers, kept in groups from 10 to, possibly, 400 or more. In these groups social skills of animals help to reduce stress. Too
Dr. Melissa Moggy, Alberta Farm Animal Care The decision to euthanise on farm is a difficult decision every producer has to make. Euthanising on farm may be necessary when a sick or injured animal is unresponsive to treatment, has a poor chance of recovery, and is unfit for transportation. When not performed correctly, on-farm euthanasia can cause unwanted pain and suffering. Gunshot is one of the most common methods of euthanasia producers perform for production