An ellipsoid farrowing crate: its ergonomical design and effects on pig productivity
Journal of Animal Science
An ellipsoid farrowing crate was designed and compared to the conventional rectangular crate with regard to its effect on sows' production traits. The main features of this crate are its oval horizontal frame and bowed vertical bars. Thirty-two sows farrowed in each system. Those in the ellipsoid crates raised 318 pigs and those in the rectangular crates raised 304. Stillbirth rate was lower in the ellipsoid crates than in the rectangular crates ( P < .05). Among pigs born live, no significant
... ve, no significant difference due to crate was found on the deaths by crushing, infection, and other causes. The overall pigs' weaning rate from total births was also similar in both crates ( P > .05). The daily weight gains of pigs for the 1st wk in the ellipsoid crate did not differ from those of pigs in the rectangular crates ( P > .05) but were higher for the period from d 7 to d 2 1 ( P < .05). The ellipsoid crate allowed the sow t o turn around and have more freedom to move. However, the increase in sow movement did not cause a higher pig crushing rate than that in the traditional crate ( P > .05). Behavioral observations also showed that the ellipsoid farrowing crate permitted easier visual and tactile contact of dams with their pigs and offered pigs better access to the sow's teats.