Housing of pregnant sows in loose and confined systems--a field study. 3. The impact of housing factors on claw lesions.
ABSTRACT The relationship of claw lesions to housing was studied in 36 sow herds. Eighteen herds with loose housing of pregnant sows and 18 herds with confined (stalled or tethered) pregnant sows, were followed over a 12 month period. Fifteen of the loose housing herds had partly slatted concrete floors, while 3 herds had other types of flooring. The mean herd prevalence proportion of sows with major claw lesions in loose housing herds with partly slatted floors was about twice as high as in the herds with confined sows. In the only loose housing herd with deep litter based on straw, the prevalence proportion of sows with major claw lesions was lower than any of the other loose or confined herds. Within herds with loose sows on partly slatted floors, the prevalence proportion of sows with major claw lesions seemed to be higher in the loose housing compartment than in the farrowing compartment. The prevalence proportion of sows with major claw lesions did not differ between loose herds with plastic slats and loose herds with concrete slats.