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The effect of hoof abnormalities on sow behavior and performance
- Fitzgerald, Robert F., Stalder, Kenneth J., Karriker, Locke A., Sadler, Lawrence J., Hill, Howard T., Kaisand, Jeffery, Johnson, Anna K.
- Livestock science 2012 v.145 no.1-3 pp. 230-238
- hooves, ingestion, lactation, linear models, piglets, posture, sows, weaning
- The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of cracks in the outer hoof wall [CK], length differences between the medial and lateral toe of the hoof [TS], and over-grown toes [OG] on sow lactation performance and behavior. Sows' hooves were observed and assigned a severity score (1 to 3), or 0 for control sows. Lactation sow performance from 223 litters was collected over 2 experiments. Sow behavior was measured in experiment 1 and was scored continuously for 45min prior to and 1h post feeding (n=150). The ethogram contained 4 postures and a maximum of 4 behaviors within each posture. Performance and behavior data were analyzed using a multiple linear regression. All sows began the experiment with similar litter weights (P>0.15) and number of piglets/litter (P>0.15). A significant, negative partial regression coefficient was observed for piglets weaned/litter for sows in the CK and TS groups (P<0.05). A trend (P=0.10) was observed for the association of sows in the CK group to wean −0.21 fewer piglets/litter than control sows. An increase in OG lesion severity score was associated with lighter adjusted litter wean weights compared to control sows. Sows in the control group spent 18.9% standing and 12.7% of the total time standing and eating. The amount of time spent standing and eating before feed presentation was negatively associated with time spent eating after feeding (b=−0.24, P<0.01); that is, each percent increase in time spent eating prior to feeding was associated with a 79% decrease in time spent standing and eating post feeding. Sows in the OG group spent 50% less time kneeling for each incremental increase in OG lesion score. Post feeding, each OG lesion score increase was associated with a 40% decrease in time spent standing and eating. Results from this study demonstrate that foot lesions can impair productivity and behavior of lactating sows.