Establishing Bedding Requirements during Transport and Monitoring Skin Temperature during Cold and Mild Seasons after Transport for Finishing Pigs

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2014-05-01
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McGlone, John
Sapkota, Avi
Kephart, Rebecca
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Johnson, Anna
Professor Animal Behavior and Welfare
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

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The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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The broad aim of this study was to determine whether bedding level in the transport trailer influenced pig performance and welfare. Specifically, the objective was to define the bedding requirements of pigs during transportation in commercial settings during cold and mild weather. Animals (n = 112,078 pigs on 572 trailers) used were raised in commercial finishing sites and transported in trailers to commercial processing plants. Dead on arrival (DOA), non-ambulatory (NA), and total dead and down (D&D) data were collected and skin surface temperatures of the pigs were measured by infrared thermography. Data were collected during winter (Experiment 1) and fall/spring (Experiment 2). Total D&D percent showed no interaction between bedding level and outside air temperature in any experiments. Average skin surface temperature during unloading increased with outside air temperature linearly in both experiments (P < 0.01). In conclusion, over-use of bedding may be economically inefficient. Pig skin surface temperature could be a useful measure of pig welfare during or after transport.

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This article is from Animals 4 (2014): 241, doi:10.3390/ani4020241. Posted with permission.

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Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2014
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