Sow housing is an important topic in our industry right now. The two main types of sow housing in use today are individual maternity pens and group pens. Individual maternity pens allow individual feeding and nutrition management, eliminate competition for resources such as food and water, and prevent fighting and injury between pregnant sows. The concern with individual housing is that sows are restricted in the amount of movement they have in these small pens. Group pens, on the other hand, allow for more freedom of movement but make it more difficult to monitor individual sows. Group pens also allow for fighting between sows which can lead to significant injury.
At Tosh Pork, we believe that sow housing should:
- Provide a safe place for the sow to live.
- Allow for the safe interaction of our sows with our caretakers.
- Provide access to an appropriate amount of quality feed and clean water for every sow.
- Reduce exposure to hazards or conditions that result in injury, pain, distress, fear, or disease.
- Protect sows from environmental extremes.
- Facilitate the observation of individual sows to assess their health and well-being on a daily basis.
We currently have barns with both types of housing systems and train our caretakers to look after the sows on their farm bearing in mind their specific housing arrangement. Tosh Pork, along with the entire pork industry, is committed to furthering our knowledge about this topic through scientific study and observation and the guidance of animal behavior experts.