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Report no. 1803: Test of 10 different farrowing pens for loose-housed sows

None of the ten pens tested scored ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in all parameters, and results confirm that further development and testing is necessary to produce a robust farrowing pen for loose-housed sows.


Ten different farrowing pens for loose-housed sows were tested under identical conditions in a commercial herd. The results show that there are still many challenges to be solved before the requirements of sow, the litter and staff can be fulfilled in one pen. The pens were evaluated according to a range of parameters, which in combination with pig performance will help pig producers decide which farrowing pen to invest in.

None of the pens scored "good" or "very good" in all parameters, which shows that further development of pens for loose-housed lactating sows is necessary before a satisfactory solution is available to Danish pig producers. In addition, to determine whether these pens may be a competitive alternative to conventional farrowing crates, the pig producers need also to include productivity and investment volume required.

Pig producers who consider investing in farrowing pens for loose-housed sows must decide on and prioritize their requirements to the pen: management routine and staff preferences vary from farm to farm, and hence the requirements to the pens will vary. This test provided an impression of the pros and cons of the pens tested. However, before making an investment, pig producers are advised to also visit farms where the pens in questions are used in a large-scale production.

Author: Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen / e-mail: / tel.: +45 3339 4334 

Updated: 01.03.2018