Research outputs

View graph of relations


Main research question/goal
What practical methods are most appropriate to score claw lesions and lameness in sows? Is there a relation between the occurrence of these disorders and the zinc status of the sow? Which connection exists between the type of floor, the behaviour and the effect of zinc supplementation in the diet in terms of claw lesions and lameness? Lameness and claw lesions are one of the main problems in the sow husbandry. It is expected that this problem will aggravate during gestation, where sows are group-housed. Group housing has become mandatory by 2013 at the latest. This research aims to 1) identify the most important factors that influence claw lesions and lameness in sows and 2) implement and disseminate practical and economical strategies to prevent claw lesions and lameness in group-housed sows.

Research approach
We develop and evaluate practical methods to score lameness and claw lesions in relation to behaviour. We evaluate the importance of zinc for claw health. We will conduct a longitudinal study on commercial farms, thereby implementing the results of previous parts of this research on a larger scale, to observe the impact of behaviour in group-housed sows. In another longitudinal study on our own experimental farm, we will evaluate the interaction between zinc supplementation, floor type, and behaviour.

The results are directly applicable for other researchers, but also for veterinarians, feed manufacturers, governments, farmers, inspectors, etc. The impact of the factors involved may provide answers on questions related to the occurrence of these disorders. These research results are widely reported in press and in scientific publications. There are also workshops and demonstrations planned for all stakeholders in the industry.

Funding provider(s)
IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen

External partner(s)
Ugent - Fac. Diergeneeskunde
Effective start/end date1/11/1031/01/15

ID: 4151254