Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R3119



Summary and Implications

This study is a portion from the validation process of an objective methodology to measure feet and leg joint angles and to evaluate their relationship with sow longevity. Five feet and leg conformation traits (knee, hock, front and rear pasterns and rear stance) that have been described in the literature as being related with sow longevity were selected for this study. Profile and rear stance digital images were obtained from 277 sows during their 2nd gestation (26.7 ± 17.2 days of gestation; range 0 to 87 days). Sows were obtained from a single gilt population and were moved to three different farms. Significant differences (P < 0.05) between farms were identified in the knee, both pasterns and the rear stance joint angle measurements. Asymmetric joint angle measurements (i.e. difference in the joint angle between the left and right legs) were identified for the knee, and both pasterns. Knee, front pastern and hock joint angles changed as gestation progressed. Results suggest that environmental factors are related with variation in joint angles. However, as the differences in joint angles are relatively small, they may not be biologically relevant.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University