Claw health and floor type in group housed sows

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Abstract

The objective of this review is to give an overview of the effect of floor types on claw health in group housed sows. The risk on lameness caused by the pen floor is increasing with group housing becoming more important. Lameness is a major welfare and production problem and often related to claw lesions. A good-quality floor to ensure healthy claws is characterized by a surface with friction (non-slip), abrasion, soft and dry properties and rounded edges. During pregnancy, aggressive interactions should be minimized because the walking and activity characteristics are more important than in individual farrowing pens. During lactation, claws can recover from lesions in pregnancy and should heal before the start of a new reproductive cycle. Plastic-coated non-slippery floors are preferred during lactation. A rubber top layer is beneficial for pregnant sow claw health in the lying area and in part of the activity (slatted) area too. A combination of a good-quality floor and management measures minimizing aggressive interactions is a good basis for healthy claws in group housed sows.
Original languageEnglish
Article number015
JournalCAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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