A pilot study to identify common pig to feeder space ratios in Ontario nursery and finisher barns and investigate their relationship to productivity and welfare - Ontario Pork - Completed Research
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
    

Completed Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Jessica Fox at [email protected]


Completed Research

A pilot study to identify common pig to feeder space ratios in Ontario nursery and finisher barns and investigate their relationship to productivity and welfare

A pilot study to identify common pig to feeder space ratios in Ontario nursery and finisher barns and investigate their relationship to productivity and welfare

Project 19-007 - Lead Researcher: Dr. Tim Blackwell, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The ratio of the number of pigs per feeder space in nursery and finisher barns has been associated with optimizing productivity in growing pigs and minimizing vices. Free access to feed and water is considered critical if the full genetic potential of the modern market hog (feed efficiency and average daily gain) is to be achieved. Currently recommendations in Ontario regarding the ratio of pigs to feeder space varies at least two fold within newly constructed or renovated nursery and finishing barns.

Standard recommendations for new or renovated nursery or finisher barns in Ontario range from 1 to 2 inches per pig. In Europe the recommendation is 3 inches per pig. Using the most common ratios in Ontario (one to two inches/pig) results in current ratios ranging from 5 to 2.5 nursery pigs per feeder space and 12 to 6 finishing pigs per feeder space. In Europe the recommendation is 4 pigs per 12 inch feeder space. These ratios are used without regard to pen design or pen utilization by the pigs in terms of dunging and sleeping areas. In some finishing barns and nurseries, pen design drives pigs to lie in front of the feeders or waterers restricting access to these resources and causing unnecessary disturbances when pigs go to eat or drink. Identifying both common and appropriate pig to feeder space ratios as well as factors that drive appropriate pen utilization will improve swine productivity and welfare on Ontario swine farms.

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