NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Swine Welfare
(306) 966-7151
WCVM, UofS, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK

Motivated for movement? Exercise and the gestation environment on sow performance and welfare

Research Team:

  • PhD Student: Mariia Tokereva
  • Supervisor: Dr. Yolande Seddon
  • Project Members: Jennifer Brown – Prairie Swine Centre

Funding Agency:

Project Timeline:

  • September 2017 to August 2021


Societal concern regarding confinement housing has prompted multiple countries to move towards providing a greater freedom of movement to gestating sows, converting gestation stalls to group housing. The 2014 Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs permits the operation of existing stall barns if bred female pigs are given access to periodic greater freedom of movement. However, it remains unclear if stall-housed sows are motivated for a greater freedom of movement, and whether providing this through periodic exercise will bring any welfare benefits.

Project Objectives:

  • To determine how strongly gestating female pigs are motivated for time out of their stall, and if providing periodic exercise can increase sow welfare and reduce stress in comparison to housing in stalls and groups throughout gestation.

Value of this research:

This research will help us better understand the needs of animals managed in confinement systems and whether providing greater freedom of movement to stall-housed sows is a viable approach to improve the welfare of sows compared to group-housing.

Links to results:

Results available in Mariia Tokareva’s PhD thesis.