The better a piglet's start in life of a piglet, the healthier it will be as it grows up.
An initial study, involving more than fifty sows, shows that sows which can move freely do not need to change their positions so often. As a result, no new-born piglets can be accidentally crushed to death during the birth. ‘Overlays' happen more often with confined sows which are more agitated. Furthermore, a sow which can move about freely has more nose contact with her piglets. ‘That is good for their relationship, and this in turn has a positive influence on the piglets as they grow up, as is the case with humans,' says Nicoline Soede of the Adaptation Physiology Group, who is involved in the project. It is hard to say whether the more comfortable farrowing pens are also economically viable. The chance to lead a healthier life is difficult to express in terms of money, says Soede.