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

Goal 1. Early Life Management

Contribution of early life management to pig robustness, sociability and welfare

The early life period (birth to 12 weeks) is a sensitive period in which piglets undergo rapid developmental processes that have long-lasting impacts, including the development of social skills, eating behaviours, stress responsiveness and fearfulness. Rearing pigs in enriched environments pre-weaning can improve post-weaning growth rate, immune responsiveness, and meat quality. Targeted management at this critical stage of life may be important for the future health, welfare and productivity of pigs. This research will identify how early life management practices influence the adaptive responses of pigs, and the interlinking relationships between the pig’s adaptation to weaning, the development of eating behaviours, how this influences gut health and in combination, the longer-term welfare outcomes for the pig in the fully-slatted indoor system.

Importance of the work

Findings will contribute to the knowledge of early life management of pigs in fully slatted systems during sensitive periods of development and will i) contribute to understanding the development of welfare issues from birth to slaughter; ii) identify the lasting effects of weaning stressors; and iii) identify the lasting beneficial effects of manipulating early life development in the pig through adoption of supportive management on welfare, stress resilience and production performance.

Research Projects
Selected Publications