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Animals 2014, 4(3), 476-493;

Establishing Bedding Requirements on Trailers Transporting Market Weight Pigs in Warm Weather

Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Laboratory of Animal Behavior, Physiology and Welfare, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 February 2014 / Revised: 21 July 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Transport)
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Simple Summary

Transport is an inevitable process in the modern swine industry. Trailers transporting pigs are bedded with straw, wood shavings, corn stover, or sand. Excess bedding may detrimentally affect the micro-environment inside the trailer during warm weather and in turn negatively affect animal based measures and transport losses. These experiments aim to determine the amount of bedding that is ideal for market weight pig transport during warm weather.


During warm weather, incorrect bedding levels on a trailer transporting market weight pigs may result in heat stress, fatigue, and death. Two experiments were conducted in June and July of 2011; Experiment 1 used 80 loads (n = 13,887 pigs) to determine the effects of two bedding levels (3 (68.1 kg) or 6 bags (136.2 kg) of wood shavings/trailer [each bag contained 22.7 kg, 0.2 m3]) on pig measures (surface temperature, vocalizations, slips and falls, and stress signs). Experiment 2 used 131 loads (n = 22,917 pigs) to determine the effects of bedding (3 vs. 6 bags) on transport losses (dead, sum of dead- and euthanized- on arrival; non-ambulatory, sum of fatigued and injured; total transport losses sum of dead and non-ambulatory). Bedding did not affect surface temperature, vocalizations, or slips and falls (p = 0.58, p = 0.50, and p = 0.28, respectively). However, pigs transported on 6 bags/trailer had 1.5% more stress signs than pigs transported on 3 bags/trailer (p < 0.01). No differences were observed between bedding levels for non-ambulatory, dead, or total transport losses (p = 0.10, p = 0.67, and p = 0.34, respectively). Within the context of these experiments, bedding level did not result in deleterious effects on pig measures or transport losses. However, using more bedding may result in higher costs to the industry. Therefore, 3 bags of bedding/trailer may be used when transporting market weight pigs during warm weather in the Midwestern U.S. View Full-Text
Keywords: bedding; market-weight pig; transport losses; well-being bedding; market-weight pig; transport losses; well-being

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kephart, R.; Johnson, A.; Sapkota, A.; Stalder, K.; McGlone, J. Establishing Bedding Requirements on Trailers Transporting Market Weight Pigs in Warm Weather. Animals 2014, 4, 476-493.

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