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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on July 19, 2010

Sows in groups produce heavier piglets

New Topigs research foreshadows upcoming regulations

New research released by sow breeding firm Topigs shows that 40,000 of its sows from 59 Dutch farms housed in groups produced piglets with a birth weight 61 grams higher than those housed individually. Results of the research, conducted in 2008-2009, were backed up by certain scientific papers, the company said.

Researchers cited a number of factors in reporting results: group housing allows sows to interact socially and perform beneficial behavioral patterns; group-housed sows exercise more; and group-housed sows lose less body energy through radiation in cold weather. European welfare regulations from 2013 onwards require sows to be housed in groups during gestation. 

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