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Flooring preference and behavior in sound and lame sows

Parsons, R. L., Johnson, A. K., Coetzee, J. F., Karriker, L. A., Pairis-Garcia, M. D., Stalder, K. J., Millman, S. T.
Acta agriculturæ Scandinavica 2016 v.66 no.2 pp. 115-118
concrete, floors, lameness, sows
The objectives of this study were to assess sow flooring preference and behavior during sound, induced lame and lameness recovery states. Thirty-four multiparous, non-pregnant sows were compared prior to and following lameness induction (day 0). Behavior was recorded on six days (days −1, +1, +2, +3, +4 and +10). Three flooring locations (Alley, Concrete and Mat) and four behaviors (lying lateral, lying sternal, sitting and standing) were recorded. Sows increased Mat frequency and decreased Alley frequency on day +1 (most lame) relative to day −1. Lying lateral frequency increased, whereas lying sternal and standing frequencies decreased between day −1 and day +1. Sows appear to prefer the Mat within 24 h following lameness induction. Lying lateral is likely a more comfortable position than standing or lying sternal in these lame sows. In conclusion, these behaviors may be reliable indicators to further ascertain if a sow is lame.