In the U.S., housing for the lactating sow and her piglets can be divided into five main areas. Total confinement (farrowing stall) houses 83.4 % of the sows. Remaining operations house far fewer sows with open buildings that have outside access at 12.4 %, open building with no outside access, 2.9 %, pasture with hut or no building, 0.7 %, and lot with hut or no building the lowest at 0.6 % . Farrowing stalls have become widely accepted by the industry for numerous reasons: they have made sow management easier, efficiently utilized space, and they can help to reduce piglet mortality . However, the farrowing stall has received criticism due to potential detrimental effects it may impose on the welfare of the sow (such as occurrence of shoulder ulcers [3, 4], behaviors considered problematic [5, 6, 7], and sow’s movements are more restricted). The development of an alternative, economical farrowing system that retains the advantages of the conventional farrowing stall, and provides welfare benefits to the sow and piglets, could be beneficial to the industry [8, 9].
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Johnson, Anna K. and Marchant-Forde, Jeremy N., "Farrowing Systems for the Sow and her Piglets" (2011). Animal Science White Papers, Technical Reports, & Fact Sheets. 17.