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The effect of different weaning ages on the welfare of gilts and their piglets - AW0138

The Defra Livestock Production Group have recently commissioned a research project with ADAS Terrington to examine how weaning at four, six and eight weeks of age affects production efficiency and environmental impact in a slurry based system (ISO212). The project will compare ammonia emissions and feed efficiency from three different weaning ages (four, six and eight weeks) in a controlled replicated study. This proposal aims to utilise this same project to study the effects of weaning age on the behaviour and welfare of gilts and piglets. It is unknown whether or not the behaviour and welfare of gilts weaned at six or eight weeks will be compromised in such a setting. The effect on the welfare of piglets weaned at six or eight weeks in either the short (post-weaning) or long term (growing and finishing period) is also unknown. The results of the proposed research will enable Defra to refine welfare policy and codes of recommendations and to evaluate the relationship between piglet and gilt welfare and environmental impact. In addition it will facilitate informed discussion about changes to Europe-wide pig welfare standards, particularly relating to increasing weaning age.
Project Documents
• Final Report : AW0138 Final report   (336k)
• Final Report - Annex : AW0138 Final report Appendix   (228k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2005

Cost: £98,800
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare