October 11, 2016

MSU’s Aggression in Group Housing Survey

As a recruiter for Continental Search’s swine department, I enjoy looking for interesting content that will prove beneficial to friends and clients in this particular industry. I found a survey that will interest swine producers, as the data will help improve their business endeavors.

Dr. Sarah Ison is a post-doctoral fellow in Michigan State University’s Animal Science Department. She is doing a survey which will affect swine producers, as it focuses on eradicating aggression in group sow housing.

The aim is to develop tools in which to control this behavior. She invites swine producers to take the survey, which is observes how behavior can be used to choose swine for group housing.

In an article published on The Pig Site two years ago, the writer said that housing sows in groups would be the wave of the future in North America. In other countries, producers would rather keep the sow in total confinement.

Dr. Ison postulates that the best way to achieve group sow housing would be to use behavioral traits, genomics and genetics to choose pigs for this particular housing style. She hopes to gather information regarding practices, knowledge and opinions of people in this industry regarding the use of selective breeding, replacement and behavioral traits to achieve zero to minimal aggression in group housing.

According to Dr. Ison, the purpose of the survey is to see the direction that they should focus on with regard to future research. She also hopes to use the data gathered to develop educational materials for future use.

Aggression in sows can come in different forms according to Merck Vet Manual. Within the first week of life, piglets begin to show aggression to establish a teat order. Introduction of newer pigs during this phase can lead to aggression and it takes days to establish the hierarchy.

Behavior during this period will include biting, nosing and vocalizing. Biting is the biggest problem, as it may lead to serious injury. Cannibalism and less-protective sows are also concerns that have to be addressed.

This survey will help improve production rates for people in the industry. You can read the transcript of the interview and listen to the audio as well. If you are a swine producer, you may take the survey by clicking here.

Are you looking for jobs in the pig industry? Visit Continental Search to find a wide range of openings to choose from. If you would like me to assist you in choosing one that is right for you, send me an email.

Jim Hipskind CPC • Recruiter

Housing Survey

Jim Hipskind brings 30+ years of recruiting experience in processing, manufacturing, food and agriculture.  Jim presently manages searches in feed mill management, engineering, swine farm management and sales in the swine industry.

Visit Jim’s LinkedIn profile for more information and updates about current trends in the swine industry.

Jim can also be reached directly at (800) 799-4520 or you can send your resume to him at jim@consearch.com.



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