Farrowing housing and management

Health and welfare of sows is especially challenged with severe space restriction (e.g. in conventional crates), heat stress during warm periods, lack of nest building materials, and large litters. Challenges for the health and welfare of piglets – possibly leading to reduced growth and increased mortality - include high competition for teats, limited space for resting and for suckling, lack of exploratory material, and mutilations. Risks can be considerably reduced if correct measures and practices are introduced to meet the needs of sows and piglets.
Nest building jute sack - © WUR
Source photo: © WUR

About this dossier

Table of contents


Knowledge: Basis

Knowledge: Alternatives to farrowing crates

Knowledge: Management of unweaned piglets

Tools for welfare inspection

Inspiring example

An adequate farrowing pen has to meet species-specific needs of suckling piglets and their mother around birth. This includes space and freedom to move. In this video Jan-Hendrik Hohls explains his free farrowing pens, where sows are only temporarily fixed. Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement.
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Space and freedom to move - Vision Pig

Vision Pig - MuD Tierschutz

Training courses


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