CZAAWE Resource Article

Floor Feeding Sows Their Daily Allocation over Multiple Drops per Day Does Not Result in More Equitable Feeding Opportunities in Later Drops
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
This research studied whether floor feeding group-housed sows their daily allocation over multiple feed drops per day provides more equitable feeding opportunities in later drops. Over four time replicates, 275 sows were mixed into groups of 10 for both their first and second gestations (200 sows/gestation, 126 sows observed in both gestations). The feeding behavior of individual sows was recorded for 10 min following each of four feed drops per day (0730, 0900, 1100, 1500 h) on days 2, 9 and 51 post-mixing. The location of feeding sows (i.e., feeding in areas associated with high, reduced or little/no food availability) was also recorded. Sow aggressive behavior on day 2 was used to classify sows as dominant (D), subdominant (SD), or submissive (SM). Dominant sows spent the most time feeding in areas of high-food availability (gestation 1, p < 0.001; gestation 2, p = 0.023); SD sows fed more frequently than D sows from areas of reduced food availability (gestation 1, p = 0.001; gestation 2, p = 0.025); and SM sows performed more feeding behavior in areas of little/no food availability (gestation 1, p < 0.001; gestation 2, p < 0.001). These relationships did not change over feed drops or days in either gestation (p > 0.05). Further research on the management and design of floor feeding systems is required, with a particular emphasis on increasing accessibility to sows that avoid the feeding area.