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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Comparison of Two Free-Farrowing Systems and a Conventional Farrowing Crate System with Special Regard to Air Hygiene

1
Institute for Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Farm Animal Behaviour, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany
2
Clinic for Swine, Small Ruminants and Forensic Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany
3
Institute for Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010012
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 28 December 2018 / Published: 8 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Welfare)
The aim of this study was to analyze the air quality in two different commercially available free-farrowing systems in comparison with a conventional farrowing crate system. A group housing system for six lactating sows (GH) and a single loose-housing system (LH) were tested against systems with farrowing crates (FC) under similar conditions. In eight evaluated batches with 148 farrowings, measurements were performed at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the occupancy period of 33 days. The mean dust concentration was significantly higher in GH than in LH and FC at the mid-point. The mean ammonia concentration was significantly higher in GH compared to LH and FC at the beginning of occupancy. The mean concentration of endotoxins was significantly higher in FC than in LH and GH at the end of occupancy. Furthermore, the systems did not differ significantly from each other. Spearman’s analysis revealed correlations between dust and time of occupancy, between ammonia and carbon dioxide, and between ammonia and the inside temperature and outside temperature. The new husbandry systems offer animals more opportunities to move without endangering animal welfare through deteriorated air hygiene. View Full-Text
Keywords: air quality; animal hygiene; dust; ammonia; endotoxins; carbon dioxide air quality; animal hygiene; dust; ammonia; endotoxins; carbon dioxide
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Lühken, E.; Nicolaisen, T.; Risch, B.; Volkmann, N.; Schnier, S.; Schulz, J.; Kemper, N. Comparison of Two Free-Farrowing Systems and a Conventional Farrowing Crate System with Special Regard to Air Hygiene. Agriculture 2019, 9, 12.

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