Special Issue "Challenges and Perspectives in Pig Farming: Breeding, Husbandry and Management"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Farm Animal Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Nicole Kemper
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Behavior, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover, Germany
Interests: farm animal welfare; animal hygiene; animal–environment–human interactions; antibiotic resistance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Commercial pig farming in Europe, and worldwide, faces enormous changes and challenges today. Challenges are both related to animal health and animal welfare aspects. In times of global epizootic diseases, prevention and biosecurity measures are of utmost importance to maintain a high health status on pig farms. Moreover, the demand for prudent use of antibiotics shifts efforts towards prevention and adapted strategies in management. This goes hand in hand with measures to enable animal welfare, which have to be realized in present and future pig farming systems. For instance, longer restrictions of movement, management of large litters, tail docking, and castration without anesthesia are key issues to be solved in future animal-friendly husbandry systems. In addition, the impact of pig husbandry on the environment plays an increasingly important role. These major challenges can only be solved when innovative research in breeding, husbandry, and management offer perspectives. To put solutions into practice, economic considerations and potential conflicting goals should also be taken into account. This Special Issue aims at showing perspectives for pig farming in a challenging situation. Therefore, I invite you to contribute by submitting studies or comprehensive reviews analyzing current challenges in pig husbandry and investigating possible innovative solutions in breeding, husbandry, and management.

Prof. Dr. Nicole Kemper
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Animal health
  • Animal welfare
  • Piglets
  • Pigs
  • Pig breeding
  • Husbandry systems
  • Disease prevention

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Development of a Group-Adapted Housing System for Pregnant Sows: A Field Study on Performance and Welfare Aspects
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010028 - 03 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
A Sow-Welfare-Optimized-Feeding (SWOF) system with group-adapted ad libitum liquid feeding was developed to ensure that both optimal nutritional and behavioral needs are met in group-housed pregnant sows. This system comprises functional areas and allows sows to have either a low- or high-energy diet [...] Read more.
A Sow-Welfare-Optimized-Feeding (SWOF) system with group-adapted ad libitum liquid feeding was developed to ensure that both optimal nutritional and behavioral needs are met in group-housed pregnant sows. This system comprises functional areas and allows sows to have either a low- or high-energy diet according to their current weight in relation to their parity. This field study aimed to investigate how this new system influences sows’ body weight, health status (lameness), aggression parameters (integument injuries, vulva injuries, and displacements at the trough), feed intake rhythm, and litter performance. In parallel, these parameters were also recorded in the existing system (group-housed sows restrictively fed a dry diet). In the SWOF system, the probability of displacements at the trough and occurrence of vulva injuries were reduced, whereas sows could follow a natural biphasic feed intake rhythm. Though lameness scores and litter performance were not affected, lower body weights and more integument injuries were, however, observed. Yet, results can only partially be attributed to the feeding system per se due to confounding effects such as management practices and group size differences (larger dynamic group vs. stable group). Hence, the SWOF system seems promising with regard to animal welfare but remains to be further validated. Full article
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Article
Planimetric Determination of the Static Space of Cull Sows as the First Step towards a Recommendation of Loading Densities for Cull Sows during Road Transportation in the European Union
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010020 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 823
Abstract
The available floor space is an important welfare factor for cull sows during transportation. Sows of modern genetics reach a size and weight far exceeding those of fattening pigs. In most countries, there are no binding, consistent regulations for the maximum loading densities, [...] Read more.
The available floor space is an important welfare factor for cull sows during transportation. Sows of modern genetics reach a size and weight far exceeding those of fattening pigs. In most countries, there are no binding, consistent regulations for the maximum loading densities, especially for sows during road transportation. As a first step towards such recommendations, the physical floor space requirement (static space) of 100 sows of a current breed, while standing and lying down, were determined using contrast-based planimetry. An average sow covered about 0.42–0.47 m2 (standing postures) up to 0.53–0.63 m2 (lying postures). The largest measured area was 0.72 m2 for a sow lying in the belly-chest position. We detected a significant dependency of the covered floor area and the live weight, which supports the common practice to derive space requirements and recommendations based on live weight. Also, our results suggest that especially heavy sows, under currently usual loading densities, are at risk of having insufficient floor space requirements during transport. The results cannot be used to define the space required by a sow to carry out movements or sustain the individual need for distance (social/dynamic space) but provide data on the static space covered by sows of current breeds. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Behavioral Aspects after Intradermal and Intramuscular Vaccine Application in Suckling Piglets
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 637; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10120637 - 15 Dec 2020
Viewed by 767
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyse the behavioral aspects of suckling piglets after an intradermal vaccination method in comparison to an intramuscular vaccination applied on the seventh day of life. Possible effects on piglet welfare should be evaluated. Under field conditions, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyse the behavioral aspects of suckling piglets after an intradermal vaccination method in comparison to an intramuscular vaccination applied on the seventh day of life. Possible effects on piglet welfare should be evaluated. Under field conditions, 135 suckling piglets from 12 litters were vaccinated against Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae—64 of those intradermally and 71 intramuscularly, from six litters each. For behavioral analyses, videos were recorded per pen, starting three days before the vaccination and ending three days after the vaccination. In the video analyses, the observation periods 6.00–10.00, 13.00–17.00, and 19.00–21.00 were analysed via scan sampling for the behaviors lying, standing, walking, suckling, and social contact. In the behavioral observations, in all piglets, the most frequent behavior was lying, followed by suckling at the sow’s teats. After vaccination, less lying behavior and more suckling behavior were assessed in intradermally vaccinated piglets compared to intramuscularly vaccinated piglets, which indicates that the piglets were not impaired by stress following vaccination. The results of this study showed that intradermal needle-free vaccination has clear advantages, as it caused fewer vaccination-associated behavior changes in suckling piglets than the intramuscular vaccination method with a needle. Full article
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Article
Animal Welfare Programs in Germany—An Empirical Study on the Attitudes of Pig Farmers
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 609; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10120609 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
In Europe, there is ongoing social criticism of conventional pig farming and demands for higher farm animal welfare standards. This applies primarily to products from pig production, as consumers criticize, among other things, the animals’ housing conditions, tail docking, neutering, or keeping them [...] Read more.
In Europe, there is ongoing social criticism of conventional pig farming and demands for higher farm animal welfare standards. This applies primarily to products from pig production, as consumers criticize, among other things, the animals’ housing conditions, tail docking, neutering, or keeping them on slatted floors. Various animal welfare programs have tried to meet the consumers’ demands. Pig farmers are directly involved in the production process and are therefore key stakeholders for the successful implementation of animal welfare programs such as the German Initiative Animal Welfare. The Initiative Animal Welfare was founded in 2015 and serves as an example in this study, as it has been established for two rounds and involves high numbers of participants. However, little is known about the attitudes of pig farmers towards this specific animal welfare program. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate these attitudes towards animal welfare programs using the example of German pig producers and identify group differences. Based on an online survey of German conventional pig farmers, four clusters were formed which differ in their attitude to the Initiative Animal Welfare. Overall, all farmers, regardless of the cluster, feel publicly pressured by politics and the media. In addition, all farmers are skeptical about the effort involved in participating in the Initiative Animal Welfare (IAW), especially with regard to the additional documentation requirements and unannounced controls. The findings can provide guidance for the design of animal welfare programs taking into account the needs of farmers. Full article
Article
Influence of Different LED Light Colour Temperatures on the Preference Behaviour of Weaned Piglets
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10120594 - 02 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1231
Abstract
This study investigates the effect of different LED lighting colour temperatures on the preference behaviour of 4-week-old weaned piglets. A total of 32 piglets were housed in two replications in an experimental pen area with four identically equipped pen compartments connected two by [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effect of different LED lighting colour temperatures on the preference behaviour of 4-week-old weaned piglets. A total of 32 piglets were housed in two replications in an experimental pen area with four identically equipped pen compartments connected two by two. Each pen unit offered a compartment set to a colour temperature of 3000 kelvin and another set to 6500 kelvin, at 80 lux during the day. Each piglet could freely choose between the two compartments by using a passageway. Over a period of five weeks, the behaviours “lying”, “eating” and “activity” were video recorded for 72 h during the 1st, 3rd and 5th week of the experiment. The location of the piglet in the pen and its behaviour were determined by using time sampling. In the first week, the piglets preferred the colour temperature of 3000 K to perform all behaviours. In the following weeks this preference decreased. Results also show that feed consumption and soiling of the pens were higher under 6500 K. Pigs can differentiate between the different colour temperatures and use them for different behaviours. This can be used to divide pens into functional areas in order to better suit the behavioural needs of pigs. Full article
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Communication
Mycotoxin Contamination of Selected Organic Enrichment Materials Used in Pig Farming
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 565; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110565 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 890
Abstract
Abnormal behavior, such as tail biting, is a fundamental problem in pig husbandry worldwide, and the application of enrichment materials, particularly organic materials, is one of the most promising preventive and curative measures. However, the potential health risks posed by these materials, such [...] Read more.
Abnormal behavior, such as tail biting, is a fundamental problem in pig husbandry worldwide, and the application of enrichment materials, particularly organic materials, is one of the most promising preventive and curative measures. However, the potential health risks posed by these materials, such as being an additional source of mycotoxins, have not been sufficiently studied to date. Therefore, 21 different organic enrichment materials were tested for mycotoxin contamination with a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry multi-mycotoxin method. Concerning the legally regulated mycotoxins in the EU, aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A were not detected in any of the tested materials. Fumonisin B2 was detected in straw meal made of wheat, rye, and triticale, but the level (0.014 mg/kg) was very low. The level of deoxynivalenol in maize pellets (5.01 mg/kg) and maize silage (2.12 mg/kg) exceeded the guidance value for pig feed. Zearalenone was present at high levels in maize pellets (1.21 mg/kg), hay (0.30 mg/kg), and maize silage (0.25 mg/kg). Maize products showed high levels of mycotoxins presenting a health risk for pigs and cannot be recommended as enrichment material. Full article
Article
Case Study on Recording Pigs’ Daily Activity Patterns with a UHF-RFID System
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 542; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110542 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
The main objective of this paper is the monitoring of daily activity patterns of fattening pigs at different locations in the housing environment using UHF-RFID. Four hundred fattening pigs were equipped with UHF-RFID ear tags and monitored during the fattening period for about [...] Read more.
The main objective of this paper is the monitoring of daily activity patterns of fattening pigs at different locations in the housing environment using UHF-RFID. Four hundred fattening pigs were equipped with UHF-RFID ear tags and monitored during the fattening period for about four months. The RFID antennas were installed at the feeding troughs, playing devices and drinkers. A validation phase for each of these locations was carried out prior to the first data collection. The sensitivity (true positive rate) of the UHF-RFID system was about 80% at the feeding trough and the playing device and about 60% at the drinkers. The mean of the daily visiting time of all pigs at the trough was about 55 min. The mean visiting duration at the playing device was about 38 min and at the drinkers about 9 min. The visiting times of the pigs showed a high intra- and inter-variability. It was observed that the average visit duration at the feeding trough decreases over the course of a fattening period but increases at the playing device. A documentation of visiting times of animals is possible utilizing RFID systems, allowing a higher data density than video or direct observations. Full article
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Article
Animal Welfare Assessment in Sows and Piglets—Introduction of a New German Protocol for Farm’s Self-Inspection and of New Animal-Based Indicators for Piglets
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 506; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10110506 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
We compare the Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft e.V. (KTBL) protocol, a German protocol for sows and piglets developed for farm’s self-inspection, to the Welfare Quality® protocol for sows and piglets (WQ). The KTBL protocol introduces new indicators for [...] Read more.
We compare the Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft e.V. (KTBL) protocol, a German protocol for sows and piglets developed for farm’s self-inspection, to the Welfare Quality® protocol for sows and piglets (WQ). The KTBL protocol introduces new indicators for piglets to be assessed at pen level (face lesions, carpal joint lesions, undersized animals). The reliability of their assessment at pen level was analysed by comparison to assessments at individual level. Both protocols were applied by one observer in 65 farm visits. The protocols are highly similar, although the composition varies (WQ protocol: focus on animal-based, KTBL protocol: focus on management-based indicators). Consequently, the WQ protocol detected more welfare issues (e.g., welfare issues related to appropriate behaviour: 62.9% (WQ) vs. 21.0% (KTBL protocol)). The comparison between pen and individual level of piglets’ indicators was determined using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (RS), intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and limits of agreement (LoA). Carpal joint lesions and undersized animals (RS 0.73/0.80 ICC 0.55/0.57 LoA −0.12 to 0.03/−0.01 to 0.01) are reliably assessed at pen level but face lesions (RS 0.19 ICC 0.18 LoA −0.42 to 0.03) are not. Concluding, we present advantages and disadvantages of the KTBL protocol and introduce indicators for piglets which may enhance existing protocols. Full article
Article
German Citizens’ Perception of Fattening Pig Husbandry—Evidence from a Mixed Methods Approach
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10080342 - 07 Aug 2020
Viewed by 792
Abstract
Pig production in Germany is experiencing an increasing discrepancy between social attitudes, wishes and the reality. To investigate the actual perception and knowledge of fattening pig husbandry by German citizens, a mixed methods approach was carried out. First, six focus group discussions were [...] Read more.
Pig production in Germany is experiencing an increasing discrepancy between social attitudes, wishes and the reality. To investigate the actual perception and knowledge of fattening pig husbandry by German citizens, a mixed methods approach was carried out. First, six focus group discussions were conducted. Content analysis showed that space availability, fresh air supply and flooring type are particularly relevant in citizens’ perception, whereas surgical interventions on the animal are perceived less. Furthermore, preventive use of antibiotics is seen critically by the participants. Based on these results, an online survey with 399 respondents was conducted to quantify the results. Findings from the focus groups were confirmed: Lack of space as well as the perceived precautionary use of medication were seen most critically. Results are influenced by if respondents have visited a farm before, the dietary behavior and sex. Full article
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Article
Pig Organ Lesions Recorded in Different Abattoirs: A Statistical Approach to Assess the Comparability of Prevalence
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 319; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10080319 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 653
Abstract
Documented lesions of slaughtered pigs provide a high-density data-pool that could be valuable for the purpose of animal health monitoring and breeding. However, data quality and structure hamper the application of statistical methods. The present study provides an approach that enables statistical analysis [...] Read more.
Documented lesions of slaughtered pigs provide a high-density data-pool that could be valuable for the purpose of animal health monitoring and breeding. However, data quality and structure hamper the application of statistical methods. The present study provides an approach that enables statistical analysis and evaluates the comparability of lesion prevalence among abattoirs. The German Quality and Safety database provided data of recorded lung, pleura, liver, and heart lesions. Filter criteria were used to improve the data structure. Data of n = 8,004,769 animals, recorded in nine abattoirs over a period of 18 months, were analyzed. Lesion prevalences were successfully modeled by applying a generalized linear mixed model. To examine prevalence differences, the coefficient of variation (CV) on a six-monthly basis was calculated, and a grand mean test (GMT) of significance was applied. High variations in estimated prevalence occurred on abattoir, six-monthly and organ basis. The highest variation occurred in the lung (CV = 64.7%), whereas liver lesions showed the lowest variation (CV = 21.8%). The GMT enabled the visualization of these variations between abattoirs, organs and over time. Concerning the assessment of the comparability of prevalences, it provides a promising tool to monitor changes in lesion examination and to address divergent abattoirs. Full article
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Article
Influence of A Cooled, Solid Lying Area on the Pen Fouling and Lying Behavior of Fattening Pigs
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 307; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070307 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Increasing demands on animal welfare and the higher temperatures in summer due to climate change make it necessary to adapt conventional pig husbandry systems. A cooled, solid lying area has the potential to increase lying comfort and reduce the heat stress, which improves [...] Read more.
Increasing demands on animal welfare and the higher temperatures in summer due to climate change make it necessary to adapt conventional pig husbandry systems. A cooled, solid lying area has the potential to increase lying comfort and reduce the heat stress, which improves animal welfare. In the present study, the effect of a cooled, solid lying area on lying and elimination behavior was investigated. In two fattening compartments, eight pens with 28 pigs each were rebuilt. Two pen designs, different in feeder place and type, were tested. The floor was cooled from 24.5 to 20 °C by cool water in half of the pens. A total of 672 fattening pigs were tested over three fattening periods. The lying behavior was recorded by video analysis three times per week and three times per day. In the pens with a cooled lying area, 14% (SED 2.9; p = 0.002), respectively 12% (SED 0.9; p = 0.0382) more pigs were lying on the solid lying area. Additionally, the fouling of the animals was reduced by the cooling in one pen design; the results were derived from weekly scores (0.42 vs. 0.67; SED 0.058 p = 0.0006). The fouling of the pen was not affected by the floor cooling, however, the fouling in all pens was very low. Full article
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Article
Effects of Different Farrowing and Rearing Systems on Post-Weaning Stress in Piglets
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10060230 - 15 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1148
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate how farrowing and rearing systems affect skin lesions, serum cortisol, and aggressive behavior as indicators for weaning stress of piglets. Between May 2016 and March 2018, in total 3144 weaning piglets from three different farrowing systems were examined: [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate how farrowing and rearing systems affect skin lesions, serum cortisol, and aggressive behavior as indicators for weaning stress of piglets. Between May 2016 and March 2018, in total 3144 weaning piglets from three different farrowing systems were examined: farrowing crates (FC), single-housing free-farrowing pens (FF), and group-housing of lactating sows and litters (GH). After weaning and regrouping, piglets were relocated to conventional rearing pens (conv; 5.7 m2) or to wean-to-finish pens (w-f; 12.4 m2). Skin lesions were scored 24 h after weaning. Blood samples were taken one week before and 24 h after weaning to analyze the individual difference in serum cortisol. Behavior was observed for 24 h after relocation. Animals raised in FC and FF had significantly more skin lesions than that of GH animals. Piglets born in GH showed lower cortisol differences and fought less and for shorter periods compared to FC and FF piglets. Piglets weaned to w-f pens showed greater cortisol changes and fought significantly longer than piglets in conv pens. Group housing during the suckling period reduced weaning stress for piglets in terms of skin lesions, serum cortisol, and aggressive behavior. Greater space allowance (w-f vs. conv) was not beneficial with regard to the investigated parameters. Full article
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Article
Tail Lesions and Losses of Docked and Undocked Pigs in Different Farrowing and Rearing Systems
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10040130 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1398
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effects of farrowing and rearing systems on tail lesions and losses of docked and undocked pigs. Pigs from three farrowing systems: Conventional farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing (FF) and group housing of lactating sows (GH) were randomly [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of farrowing and rearing systems on tail lesions and losses of docked and undocked pigs. Pigs from three farrowing systems: Conventional farrowing crate (FC), free farrowing (FF) and group housing of lactating sows (GH) were randomly allocated to different rearing systems: A conventional system (CONV), where the pigs were regrouped and transferred to conventional finishing pens at ten weeks of age or a wean-to-finish (W-F) system, where the pigs remained in their pens until slaughter with higher space allowance during rearing. Weekly, tail lesions and losses were assessed individually. The incidence of tail lesions was higher in undocked CONV pigs compared to undocked W-F pigs (maximum: CONV 58.01%, W-F 41.16%). The rearing system had a significant effect on tail losses at the end of finishing (CONV 67.63%, W-F 38.2%). The significant effect of the rearing system might be explained by higher space allowance during rearing and reduced regrouping stress for W-F pigs. In conclusion, farrowing systems showed no effects, but the W-F rearing system reduces the frequency of tail lesions and losses; the curves of tail lesions increased slower and stayed on a lower level, which resulted in lower losses as well. Full article
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Article
Sodium Hypochlorite Treatment: The Impact on Bacteria and Endotoxin Concentrations in Drinking Water Pipes of A Pig Nursery
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 86; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10030086 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
Poor drinking water quality can affect pigs’ health and performance. The disinfection of water may enhance microbial water quality. In this study, bacteria and endotoxins in sodium hypochlorite-treated and -untreated water from one pig nursery were analyzed. Water samples were taken from incoming [...] Read more.
Poor drinking water quality can affect pigs’ health and performance. The disinfection of water may enhance microbial water quality. In this study, bacteria and endotoxins in sodium hypochlorite-treated and -untreated water from one pig nursery were analyzed. Water samples were taken from incoming water and from compartments with treated and untreated water at the beginning and end of pipes and from nipples. The farm was visited 14 times to measure total bacteria counts and concentrations of Pseudomonas spp. and endotoxins. Additionally, the occurrence of coliform bacteria was analyzed. A mixed model analysis revealed significant reductions in total bacteria counts and Pseudomonas spp. in treated water at the beginning of pipes and at nipple drinkers. The differences between bacteria concentrations at the end of pipes had no clear trend. Endotoxin concentrations were approximately equal at the beginning of pipes and at nipple drinkers but were found to have differences at the end of pipes. The occurrence of coliform bacteria was significantly reduced in treated water. The application of sodium hypochlorite can significantly reduce bacteria in water pipes. Endotoxin concentrations were mostly unaffected by water treatment. Disinfection of the dead-end pipe sections failed, and thus these parts should be regarded as potential contamination sources. Full article
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Article
Influence of Increased Light Intensity on the Acceptance of a Solid Lying Area and a Slatted Elimination Area in Fattening Pigs
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10030056 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1274
Abstract
Animal welfare labels have been introduced to improve housing conditions in conventional pig systems. Animal welfare should be increased by, e.g. offering a well-accepted and comfortable solid lying area. This study investigates the effect of bright light from an LED spotlight in the [...] Read more.
Animal welfare labels have been introduced to improve housing conditions in conventional pig systems. Animal welfare should be increased by, e.g. offering a well-accepted and comfortable solid lying area. This study investigates the effect of bright light from an LED spotlight in the slatted area on lying and elimination behavior of fattening pigs. It was tested for two pen designs different in feeder and arrangement of the slatted area with 18 pigs per pen. The study took place in two different compartments (spatial repetition) with two pens of each pen design. The light intensity in the slatted area was increased by two spotlights within one pen of each design as case-control approach. A total of 648 fattening pigs were tested over four and five fattening periods respectively. The lying behavior was assessed by video scan sampling at three different weekdays at three times (morning, noon, evening) on each observation day. On average, the lying area was used by 60–63% of the pigs in the control pens and 67–69% in the spotlight pens. Additionally, a tendential effect of the deviation of the room temperature from the set temperature existed. The fouling of the animals and pen was not affected by the light intensity. Full article
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Review

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Review
Pig Farming in Alternative Systems: Strengths and Challenges in Terms of Animal Welfare, Biosecurity, Animal Health and Pork Safety
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 261; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070261 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3276
Abstract
In pig production, the widespread conventional indoor system with a slatted floor currently dominates. However, this production system is becoming less socially acceptable. In addition to general environmental protection issues, animal welfare, the absence of suffering and distress, and the management of pain [...] Read more.
In pig production, the widespread conventional indoor system with a slatted floor currently dominates. However, this production system is becoming less socially acceptable. In addition to general environmental protection issues, animal welfare, the absence of suffering and distress, and the management of pain also constitute societal concerns. In this context, alternative production systems are gaining ground. Although they are popular with consumers and other citizens, these alternative systems have their critical points. Here, we reviewed the international scientific literature to establish the state of the art of current knowledge regarding welfare, biosecurity, animal health and pork safety in this type of farming system. In general, alternative farms give pigs the opportunity to express a broader range of behaviours than conventional farms. However, the management of feeding, watering, temperature and predators is often more complicated in these outdoor systems. In addition, biosecurity measures seem to be applied less strictly in alternative farms than in conventional farms, especially in free-range systems, where they are more difficult to implement. On the other hand, pigs kept in these farming systems seem to be less affected by respiratory diseases, but parasitism and piglet crushing (in farrowing units) both remain a real challenge. Furthermore, the higher prevalence of many zoonotic pathogens in these farms may represent a risk for human health. Full article
Review
How Is the Effect of Phytogenic Feed Supplementation Tested in Heat Stressed Pigs? Methodological and Sampling Considerations
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 257; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10070257 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
Climate change will lead to increasingly hot summers where the temperature rises above the thermoneutral range of pigs; as a result, they get exposed to heat stress. One of the most damaging consequences of long-lasting heat stress is oxidative stress arising from the [...] Read more.
Climate change will lead to increasingly hot summers where the temperature rises above the thermoneutral range of pigs; as a result, they get exposed to heat stress. One of the most damaging consequences of long-lasting heat stress is oxidative stress arising from the increasing level of reactive oxygen species. In order to eliminate oxidative stress, metabolites that are needed for maintaining life and growth may get depleted, which, in chronic cases in particular, negatively affects the economy of meat production. The effect of plant-originated phytogenic feed additives with high antioxidant content may be beneficial to pigs in reducing the effects of oxidative stress induced by heat stress. In this study, a range of methods that assess the effects of phytogenic feed additives on heat stress are reviewed. The main focus is presenting an overview of the investigational possibilities of the antioxidative system and feed uptake and utilization via traditional methods and molecular biological investigations. Furthermore, methodological aspects of sampling are taken into consideration in order to select the best methods for determining the effect of phytogenic feed supplementation on heat-stressed pigs. Full article
Review
Animal Welfare and Production Challenges Associated with Pasture Pig Systems: A Review
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture10060223 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1979
Abstract
A review of published literature was conducted to identify pasture pig production system features that pose risks to animal welfare, and to develop recommendations aimed at improving the wellbeing of the animals managed in those systems. Pasture pig production systems present specific challenges [...] Read more.
A review of published literature was conducted to identify pasture pig production system features that pose risks to animal welfare, and to develop recommendations aimed at improving the wellbeing of the animals managed in those systems. Pasture pig production systems present specific challenges to animal welfare that are inherent to the nature of these systems where producers have little room to make improvements. However, these systems present other challenges that could be reduced with a carefully designed system, by adopting appropriate management strategies and by avoiding management practices that are likely to negatively affect animal wellbeing. In pasture pig production systems, exposure to extreme temperatures, potential contact with wildlife and pathogens (especially parasites), vulnerability to predators, risk of malnutrition, pre-weaning piglet mortality, complexity of processes for monitoring and treating sick animals, and for cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment are among the main threats to animal welfare. Full article
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