Are farrowing crates economically beneficial?

The farrowing crate poses a welfare dilemma; the restriction of sow movement interferes with the performance of species-specific behaviours such as nest-building, orientation, exploration and communication with the piglets and leads to increased physiological stress.

Now, here we are, are farrowing crates economically beneficial? Encouraging the sow to stand and drink water when it is apparent that farrowing is completed and the placentas have been passed Providing a farrowing crate design, particularly for the lower portion of the crate, that does not interfere with the sow’s ability to rise and lie down or obstruct the upper row of teats

The other perceived advantage of the farrowing crate for piglet survival lies in the physical protection from crushing that it can provide by restricting the movement and rate of posture change of the sow, allowing piglets more time to escape when the sow lies down or rolls over.

Examples of farrowing pens: (A) farrowing crate with permanent confinement and a covered heated piglets corner, (B) farrowing pens for loose-housed sows with a covered and heated piglet corner.

Advantages of Farrowing Crates For Pigs

Advantages of Farrowing Crates For Pigs

If you own a piggery farm, know that you need to find a way to produce a lot of piglets each year for profitability. However, this goal is not easy to achieve today because of high piglet mortality rate. There are a lot of factors that lead to piglet mortality. One of those factors is the absence of an important unit in the production center called a farrowing crate.

If you are just starting out, you may not have any idea of the importance of farrowing crates for female pigs. After birth, piglets struggle to survive and many of them die. As a result, you suffer a lot of financial loss.

So, if you are investing in pig farm equipment, we suggest that you get farrowing crates. Some of their benefits are listed below:


If you have aggressive gilts, know that they may eat their piglets after giving birth to them. Actually, what happens is that they keep licking the navels of their babies until the piglets are torn apart. In this case, if there is a farrowing crate, it can help prevent the disaster.


At times, it happens that the mother steps on her piglets while moving around after delivery. In some cases, she ends up falling asleep on her babies, which results in the death of most of the babies. So, it’s better to have this unit.

Births in Wallow

Here is another problem: if a pregnant sow is given full freedom to walk around, she may end up delivering the baby in the wallow. As a result, babies may die. So, having a farrowing crate can help prevent this type of incidents.

Lousy Sows

After delivery, it’s important for sows to breastfeed the newborns. However, some sows are too lazy to do that. Instead, they just lie in the wallow.


Piglets that are in search of water tend to eat filth and drink urine. If you have a well-designed farrowing crate, the mother pig won’t be able to access the feces and urine. To meet the needs of your animals, you can provide a separate drinker and feeder instead.

Biting Piglets

Piglets tend to bite other piglets, especially when they are about the weaning age. However, if they are crated, it may not happen.

Weaning Weight

When baby pigs approach their weaning age, they need to gain a lot of weight. If you provide a separate feeder and drinker for them, it will help them gain their weaning weight.

If you want to enjoy 99% production success, we suggest that you invest in quality pig farm equipment. Based on the number of breeding sows you own, make sure you get the right number of farrowing crates.

Having a poorly designed crate may cause a lot of problems, such as:

Higher piglet mortality

Foot Sores


Sow death

Sow lameness

To cut a long story short, it’s important for you to invest in well-designed pig farming equipment if you are going to turn your business into a profitable one.

Deba Brothers is a platform you should check out if you are thinking of investing in pig farm equipment, especially a farrowing crate.

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Why do pigs give birth to dead piglets?

If the mother pig’s meal becomes contaminated with molds, it will deliver weak or dead piglets. If, at a certain time, several mother pigs deliver dead piglets, infections or sickness could be the cause.

How are farrowing crates beneficial?

The farrowing crates help to protect the piglets from getting stomped or laid on by the sows, which could cause death for the piglets. This is why the farrowing crates have angled, vertical bars so the sows can lie down and stand up without killing the piglets. The sows will lay down to rest and get up to eat.

What is the importance of having a farrowing record?

Within the management system of the farrowing house, detailed observations and time scales should be recorded on the sow and litter cards. Such information will help you to understand a problem if it arises.

Why do pig farmers use farrowing crates?

Farrowing crates are enclosures designed to provide the room for the sow to give birth, and also provide the room for her litter during farrowing and nursing. … Farrowing crates ensure that piglets survive.

How do you stop a stillborn pig?

Prevention of stillbirths requires attendance at farrowing, careful attention to those sows known to have a high stillbirth rate, prompt intervention when uterine inertia occurs and culling of sows after the seventh litter.

Are there viable alternatives to using farrowing crates?

The traditional farrowing crates restrict sow movement to protect newborn piglets from being crushed by the sow. Animal welfare groups around the world have concerns over their use. … There are currently no commercially viable alternatives that meet all sow and piglet welfare aims.

Why are farrowing crates bad?

Farrowing crates also severely restrict movement and frustrate sows’ strong motivation to build nests before giving birth. They prevent sows from being able to get away from their piglets if needed (for example, if they bite).

How long do piglets stay with their mother?

Depending on the breed of pig, this can be anywhere from 4-8 weeks of age. If you have a sow that is being severely depleted by a large litter, you can wean the most independent and largest sized piglets quicker than the rest, preferably not before the 4 week mark.

How do you stop pigs from crushing sows?

What I’ve found is that the best way to prevent piglet crushing is to breed for good sows. Good sows lay down gently, lift when needed, are attentive, build good nests away in a private spot, defend the nest against other pigs encroaching and don’t crush piglets.

What are the cons of farrowing crates?

Farrowing crates have been shown to increase stress and impair the sows’ ability to thermoregulate (control body temperature) during farrowing, increasing the risk of heat stress, as well as being associated with an increased number of stillbirths and negative maternal behaviours such as sow aggression [2, 3].

Are farrowing crates good?

Farrowing crates are considered to be economical, efficient and safe with maximising piglet survival as a main aim. However, they raise serious welfare concerns, particularly for the sow.

What are the advantages of the swap pen system?

Fast and safe inspection of piglets. Ability to cross-foster easily during lock-in period. Easy maintenance of good hygiene in the pens. Easy provision of nest building materials.

Do sows crush their piglets?

Around 50% of the postnatal death in piglets is caused by crushing or overlying by the domestic sow (Sus scrofa) when they are kept loose in a farrowing pen. To solve some of these problems, much research attention has been directed towards the farrowing environment.

Why do sows crush their piglets?

There has also been speculation that crushing of piglets in large litters is not always accidental, but is a deliberate way for the sow to protect herself and reduce her maternal investment (Andersen et al., 2005) .

How can we reduce piglet mortality?

Supervision and assistance during farrowing, with stockperson intervention to facilitate early and adequate ingestion of colostrum by all piglets, provision of appropriate thermal microclimates to reduce hypothermia, and skilful cross-fostering to ensure early establishment of litters of appropriate size and uniformity …

How long do Sows stay in farrowing crates?

Sows and their pigs will stay in an individual maternity pen for about 3 weeks, until the baby pigs are weaned.

Are farrowing crates humane?

Gestation crates and farrowing crates are both extremely cruel forms of confinement that prevent pigs from standing or turning around. The main difference is that factory farms confine pigs in gestation crates during pregnancy, and keep pigs in farrowing crates after they give birth to a litter of piglets.

What is a mummified piglet?

Mummified piglets are born with the remainder of the litter. Piglet death can result from infection with viruses such as porcine parvovirus, the enteroviruses of SMEDI, Aujeszky’s disease, and PRRS. Less common causes include Japanese B encephalitis in countries where it occurs.

Are there any alternatives to farrowing cages?

There is currently no single alternative farrowing system that meets all the welfare aims and has commercially acceptable levels of performance. Sow and litter productivity can be as good or better in some alternatives when compared with the farrowing crate.

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