Optimising welfare in the farrowing and lactation environment involves resolving the concerns regarding continued use of close confinement systems, such as the farrowing crate for the sows and the lack of provision of environmental enrichment to provide for behavioural needs. For piglets the main welfare and health issues surround high levels of piglet mortality and the pre-disposing risk factors associated with them. Some of these risk factors, such as low birth weight, have been exacerbated by narrow breeding goals focussed on production traits such as increasing litter size. This chapter concentrates on managerial and environmental interventions that attempt to reconcile the behavioural and physiological needs of both the sow and piglets to optimise their welfare whilst appreciating stockperson concerns with how best to implement them.
Table of contents
2 Welfare challenges during farrowing and lactation
3 Mitigating welfare challenges
5 Future trends in research
6 Where to look for further information