The farrowing phase is one of the most stressful moments in a sow’s life, for which they need all the resources and attention they have. For that reason, it is vital that there are no other stressors present. One potential stressor is a hunger feeling, as that can increase cortisol production. Bar biting (see picture) and sham chewing are expressions of that. The ideal situation is however, that the sows feel satiated. How to do that?
Best practice approach
The provision of roughage to sows can lead to a feeling of satiety, think of straw or pulp.
This has a satiety effect in 3 different ways.
- The chewing itself already helps.
- The sensation of fullness in their stomach and gut plays a role.
- And last but not least also the digestive products of fibres (e.g. fatty acids) can help to make the sow feel more satiated and calm.
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