24 May 1996

Cheap option to conversion

SIMPLE stall-and-tether conversions are a cheap option for change and work well for sows.

The early findings come from Cambac JMA research on dry sow housing alternatives.

On six commercial units groups of six to 10 stalls were penned off from the rest of the building. Tethers or backs of stalls were removed to let sows move freely within the pen. Although the alternatives provide group housing, space allowance could be lower than the recommended 1.5sq m (16sq ft) to 2sq m (21sq ft) a sow, warns Cambac researcher Phil Baynes.

He attributes the low levels of aggression in sows housed in this way to lack of competition at feeding – with one stall a pig sows are protected fully when locked in at feeding.

On the downside, simple stall conversions could complicate sow handling unless management was simplified by providing a front opening stall in each pen.