Loading gantry versus traditional chute for the finisher pig: Effect on welfare at the time of loading and performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility
The objectives of these studies were to evaluate the loading system effects [traditional chute (TC) vs. prototype loading gantry (PLG)] on i) welfare measures at loading and ii) performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility for the market-weight pig (Sus scrofa). This study compared first pull (FP), which was the first group of pigs, and close out (CO), which was the last group of pigs marketed from a finishing facility. Experiment 1 evaluated 74 loads for welfare measures at loading on the farm, and Exp. 2 evaluated 497 loads for performance measures and transport losses at the harvest facility. Data were analyzed using the PROC Mixed procedure for Exp. 1 and PROC GLIMMIX procedure of SAS for Exp. 2. In Exp. 1, pigs loaded using the PLG had fewer (P × 0.0002) electric prod touches, slips, falls, vocalizations, and pile ups compared with pigs loaded on the TC during FP and CO. In Exp. 2, there were no (P > 0.05) differences for any performance measures between loading systems or by pull. Pigs loaded using the prototype PLG loading gantry experienced fewer (P = 0.03) total transport losses than pigs loaded using the TC in the FP. In conclusion, the prototype loading gantry improved all welfare measures at the time of loading and reduced overall total transport losses. These studies demonstrate that loading systems that improve on-farm swine welfare at loading and reduce transport losses at the harvest facility can be designed.
This article is from Journal of Animal Science 90 (2012): 4028–4036, doi:10.2527/jas.2011-4973.