Researchers with Texas Tech University have been evaluating the effects of using various amounts of bedding at different temperatures during the transport of pigs on the welfare of the animals.
Texas Tech PhD student Avi Sapkota says the research is being conducted to determine the optimum amount of bedding that pork producers should be providing to their pigs during shipping.
Actually the TQA handbook, the Transport Quality Assurance handbook is the guideline that everybody uses while transporting the pigs and it recommends the different amount of bedding to be used inside the trailer while transporting them.
It just says a light, medium and heavy amount of bedding but it's not defined what's the right amount.
This research was conducted for a whole year, for winter, January and February, mild weather, March and May and in the summer June and July so the temperature range would be below freezing to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Different amounts of bedding, the levels of bedding, were used and it is three, six and 12 bags of bedding per trailer.
We found that during mild and winter season there is not any benefit of using an extra amount of bedding.
During the summer season there is actually a negative impact on the pigs so there is more dead and down using more bedding inside the trailer.
Mr Sapkota says the take-home message to producers is that more is not always better and he recommends a using a lesser amount of bedding when transporting finishing hogs.
He says an economic analysis shows in addition to improving the welfare of the animal the industry will save at least four million dollars per year by reducing bedding just in the cost of the bedding.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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