Why are sows kept in stalls during their pregnancy?

A reader asks,

“I see in the news that food companies and restaurants are supporting the phasing out of gestation stalls. Why are sows kept in those stalls to begin with?”

Many pork producers utilize gestation stalls on their farms while their sows are pregnant.  A gestation stall is an area where a sow is confined and individually fed to meet her body nutrition needs. Although the stalls do not allow the sow the ability to turn around, they’re able to stand up and lay down as well as permit the producer to give each sow individualized care and attention. Gestation stalls also prevent injury. When pregnant sows are together in an area, they will fight and they fight violently.

In some studies, scientists have monitored stress levels of sows confined to stalls and in gestation areas. Findings of such studies show that there is very little difference in stress levels between the two. It was also found that when given the choice to be in a stall or in group housing, sows will spend 80-85 percent of their time in the stalls.

For more information on pork production, visit the National Pork Checkoff online.

Keep asking great questions!

Learn more about ag in Nebraska by visiting www.nefb.org. And while there, be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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