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Research article2015Peer reviewed

Performance, health and behaviour of organic growing-finishing pigs in two different housing systems with or without access to pasture

Botermans, Jos; Olsson, Anne-Charlotte; Andersson, Mats; Bergsten, Christer; Svendsen, Jörgen


The effects of two housing systems (deep litter and straw-flow), with and without access to pasture during the summer period, were studied in an organic growing-finishing pig herd. Performance, health, skin lesions and daytime pig activity were studied in 29 pens of 16 pigs (total of 464 pigs, in 4 batches). Data from 21 pens were used for comparisons of deep litter and straw-flow and data from 16 pens for comparisons of access/no access to pasture. Pigs in the deep litter system had a lower carcass meat percentage (56.6% vs. 57.3%) and more locomotion problems (4.4% vs. 0%) than pigs in the straw-flow system. No difference in daytime pig activity was detected between the two housing systems. Under moderate temperatures, pigs with access to pasture and fed a commercial organic feed inside the building were not more active during daytime behaviour studies (7.30 h-16.30 h) than pigs without access to pasture. However, at 17 weeks of age the pigs with pasture access spent 21% of their time on pasture, less time inside the pig house (20% vs. 33%) and less time on the outside concrete area (4% vs. 12%) than the pigs without pasture. No difference in performance was detected between pigs with and pigs without access to pasture.


straw-flow; diseases; outdoor; Activity; deep litter

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2015, Volume: 65, number: 3-4, pages: 158-167