Pigs: The Deep-Litter Solution
Research has shown the average daily body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and survival rate of piglets raised in deep-litter pig pens to be equal or superior to those raised in conventional concrete floor pig houses (Sheen, 2005, Correa, 2009). There are also benefits for animal welfare – by providing a more comfortable lying surface, deep-litter systems result in fewer joint lesions (van Grvenhof et al., 2011). They also provide a constant source of manipulable material for rooting and other natural behaviours (Morrison et al., 2007). Deep-litter systems can take different forms from farm to farm but certain features must be included in order to achieve good animal welfare.