There has been a large amount of research studying the effects of space allowances on grow-finish pigs. However, little information is available about the effects on nursery pigs. Production management systems, facility constraints and establishing optimal space allowance requirements for pigs requires economic, health and welfare considerations.
Sometimes, articles titled like this one elicit an audible “duh” response. The results of a recent study in Saskatchewan indicate that pigs reared under commercial conditions were more susceptible to crowding stress than those managed under research farm conditions.
Source: National Hog Farmer, May 30, 2017.
Weaning and nursery are critical stages in pig production and are highly stressful. With increasing pressure to reduce antibiotic use, it will be even more important to consider space allowances in the nursery, and to ensure that pigs get a good start on life.
INSIGHTS: It is a relatively common practice in the U.S. to overstock nursery pens in anticipation of losses. Based on the information in this study, the overstocking practices may contribute to morbidity in the critical post-weaning stage for pigs.