What’s best for sows?
To the editor,
David Kruse confronted pen gestation versus gestation crates in his Nov 20 article, “The expense of PC food.”
Kruse’s friend, “John” argued more sows die and fewer pigs are produced with pen gestation when his integrated contractor demanded he not use gestation crates.
We used pen gestation with a computerized sow feeding system for over 20 years and “John’s” concerns weren’t an issue.
A pecking order deciding who gets to eat first is quickly established thus reducing sows fighting, dying and fewer pigs produced.
In my opinion, the sows stay in better condition because these systems allow freedom of movement in combination with an an individualized feed ration.
With ample pen space, we were even able to mix sows and gilts.
But, the CSFSs take more management skills.
Training sows to go through the system, replacing CSFS ear tags can be labor intense and frustrating.
I’ve often wondered if the argument supporting gestation stalls is about what’s more convenient for the humans instead of what’s best for the sows.
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