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Pigs for organic production

studies of sow behaviour, piglet-production and GxE interactions for performance

Wallenbeck, Anna (2009). Pigs for organic production. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2009:37
ISBN 978-91-86195-84-7
[Doctoral thesis]

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Pigs in organic production are in most cases of the same genetic material as in conventional production. These animals are bred for high production in conventional production environments. The question therefore arises: Are these animals suitable for organic production? We investigated sow behaviour, piglet production and GxE interactions for performance traits of pigs in commercial organic and conventional herds and in SLU’s Research herd. When sows farrowed outdoors in huts they started their nest-building activities earlier in relation to farrowing start and performed a higher frequency of nest-building behaviour, than they did when they farrowed indoors in pens. Farrowing duration was shorter and still-birth frequency was lower when sows farrowed in huts rather than in pens. When sows and their piglets were group-housed outdoors during lactation, the sows’ and piglets’ natural weaning process was already well advanced when the herdsman separated sows and piglets. This weaning process was influenced by sow’s body condition and the number of nursing piglets. Piglet mortality was higher in the organic compared with the conventional environment. High levels of piglet mortality reduce piglet welfare why efforts to reduce piglet mortality are required. Oestrus during lactation occurred among group-housed sows in organic herds but not among single-housed sows in conventional herds. Lactational oestrus was more common in fatter sows. Herdsmen in both organic and conventional herds praised sows with good nursing behaviour, weaning large and heavy litters with low piglet mortality. We found weak GxE interactions for growth rate and carcass leanness in organic and conventional pig production environments indicating that with regard to these traits, an organic breeding index based on the existing conventional breeding evaluation would be feasible.

Authors/Creators:Wallenbeck, Anna
Title:Pigs for organic production
Subtitle:studies of sow behaviour, piglet-production and GxE interactions for performance
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2009
Number of Pages:85
ALLI Wallenbeck, A., Thodberg, K., Rydhmer, L. Nest-building and farrowing behaviour in sows: comparing farrowing outdoors in huts and indoors in pens (Manuscript). II Wallenbeck, A., Rydhmer, L., Thodberg, K. 2008. Maternal behaviour and performance in first-parity outdoor sows. Livestock Science 116, 216–222. III Wallenbeck, A., Gustafson, G., Rydhmer, L. Sow performance and maternal behaviour in organic and conventional herds. (Submitted). IV Wallenbeck, A., Rydhmer, L., Lundeheim, N. 2008. GxE interactions for growth and carcass leanness: Re-ranking of boars in organic and conventional pig production. Livestock Science, In Press, doi:10.1016/j.livsci.2008.11.003.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:978-91-86195-84-7
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:swine, alternative agriculture, behaviour, mortality, lactation, animal production, genotype environment interaction
Keywords:Organic production, sow behaviour, piglet production, piglet mortality, lactational oestrus, selection, GxE interaction
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1989
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Deposited By: Anna Wallenbeck
Deposited On:04 May 2009 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:15

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