Group-housing and mixing of sows

Council Directive 2008/120/EC laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs states that pregnant sows must be housed in groups from four weeks after service until one week before the expected time of farrowing. Mixing of unfamiliar sows leads to agonistic behaviour to establish social relationships, and is therefore a challenge to sow health and welfare. Further challenges for sow welfare are: living in groups associated with competition for limited resources (especially food), lack of satiety due to restrictive feeding of pregnant sows, and climate and climate and resting comfort, in particular on heat stress.
Dynamic group - © FLI, A. Schubbert
Source photo: © FLI, A. Schubbert

About this dossier

Table of contents


Knowledge: Basis

Knowledge: Group-housing systems

Knowledge: Hunger induced behaviours

Knowledge: Enrichment materials

Tools for welfare inspection

Inspiring examples

Inspiring video: Fibre rich food

Restrictive feeding - Vision Pig: In this short video, Jan-Hendrik Hohls, a German Farmer, states that the best material to enrich sows is the food itself. Especially dietary fibre rich food keeps sows busy with food intake for 4h per day. This promotes calmness in the group and avoids negative social interaction. Feeding rich dietary fibres ration needs a manure systems that can deal with it. That’s why Jan-Hendrik Hohls uses a mechanical manure system underneath the slats. Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement.
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Aus dem Themenblock "Sauenhaltung": Zufriedene und ruhige Sauen - das Futter als wichtiger Faktor

Vision Pig - MuD Tierschutz

Training courses


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