Effects of distillers' dried grains with solubles on behavior of sows kept in a group-housed system with electronic sow feeders or individual stalls

Y. Z. Li, C. E. Phillips, L. H. Wang, X. L. Xie, S. K. Baidoo, G. C. Shurson, L. J. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A study was conducted to investigate the effects of diets that contained distillers' dried grains with solubles (DDGS) on stereotypic behaviors of gestating sows housed in stalls and aggression in a group-housed system. Sows were fed corn soybean-based control (CON) or treatment (DDGS) diets starting from their previous breeding cycle (40% and 20% DDGS as-fed basis during gestation and lactation, respectively). Group-housed sows were mixed in pens with an electronic sow feeder within 1 wk after mating. Behaviors of focal sows (n = 27 in stalls, n =40 in pens) were video-recorded for a period of 24 h between 4 and 8 d after mating. Salivary cortisol levels were measured on 32 focal sows (n = 16 in stalls, n = 16 in pens) during the week before mating (week 0), 1 wk and 12 wk after mating. In pens, DDGS sows fought for longer periods (P = 0.05), tended to fight more frequently (P =0.06), and had greater cortisol concentrations (P <0.001) at mixing compared with CON sows. In stalls, DDGS sows spent more time resting (P =0.02), less time performing stereotypies (P =0.05), and had lower cortisol concentrations (P =0.03) in week 12 compared with CON sows. These results indicate that DDGS diets may compromise the welfare of sows in pens, but improve the welfare of sows in stalls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Animal Science
Volume93
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Distillers' dried grains with solubles
  • Sow housing

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