Demonstration Projects Highlight Use of Enrichments in Swine Barns

Farmscape for August 6, 2021

Demonstration projects underway in the major pork producing provinces are highlighting the use of enrichments in swine barns.
A series of Swine Innovation Porc demonstration projects being overseen by the Prairie Swine Center in western Canada and CDPQ in eastern Canada is highlighting the use of chains, knotted ropes and hardwood as enrichments and the effect of rotating them. Geneviève Berthiaume, the Senior Manager of the Economics Department with CDPQ, says the move to group sow housing, positive animal welfare results on farms that use enrichments and their low cost have stimulated interest.

Clip-Geneviève Berthiaume-Centre de développement du porc du Québec:
The definition of enrichment is basically a way of changing the environment of the pigs to their benefit. There are many types of enrichment available with some better suited for each state of production. CDPQ and Prairie Swine Centre have both done fact sheets on the subject and there’s also plenty of information on the web site. In the case of this demonstration, we have asked producers to install three specific objects, namely a chain, a cotton rope with knots and a piece of hardwood and to rotate these objects weekly to keep the pigs interested. So, these demonstrations aim to really highlight the effects of the rotation of enrichment objects and how that affects the daily activities on the farm and how it affects the animals’ interest in these objects as they are being rotated instead of leaving them in the pen for the whole duration of the production period. That’s what we’re really trying to highlight this time.
Regarding the effect of the enrichment, I am not sure if that has been documented yet. We are definitely seeing, from producer testimonials, positive effects on the animal behavior. I just don’t have the numbers.

Upon competition of the demonstrations, testimonial videos will be produced. Berthiaume invites anyone interested in participating in a demonstration or getting more information to contact CDPQ or the Prairie Swine Centre.

For more visit Farmscape.Ca. Bruce Cochrane.

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