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.
- Distillers' dried grains with solubles
- Sow housing