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Patzkewitsch, Dorian; Erhard, Michael; Kickstein, Janina; Bergmann, Shana and Klein, Sandrina (2018): Feldstudie zum freien Abferkeln im Kaltstall. In: Tierärztliche Praxis Ausgabe Grosstiere Nutztiere, Vol. 46, No. 5: pp. 298-306

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Objective: The aim of this field study was to examine the loose farrowing system in view of practicability, particularly to monitor piglet losses and their causes, on a farm proceeding in accordance with the BIO AUSTRIA production guidelines from summer 2015 until summer 2017. The so-called Ethobox (HAKA, Josef Haufele GmbH & Co. KG, Erbach-Dellmensingen, Germany) had been installed into two cold barns with access to outdoor areas. Material and methods: The reproductive rate was recorded routinely on charts. Piglet losses were categorized as crushed piglets or other losses, and the timing of the loss was noted. Results: In total, the data of 490 litters (sow: German Large White x German Landrace;boar: Pietrain/Pietrain x Duroc) were acquired (mean litter number: 2.5 +/- 1.3;mean number of piglets born alive: 10.5 +/- 2.8;mean number of stillborn piglets: 0.8 +/- 1.7). A mean of 0.72 piglets were crushed per litter. Other piglet losses comprised 0.58 piglets per litter. Total piglet mortality amounted to 12.4 %. Of all the losses through crushing, 98.6 % were recorded within the first week of life. During this time period, 53.1 % of the other piglet losses occurred. Conclusion and clinical relevance: This study confirms that the first week of life can be considered to be a critical stage of life for the piglets regarding losses through crushing. According to the results, the investigated farrowing system has been proven practicable for the farm. In particular, the smaller number of piglets born alive appears to play a considerable role when regarding the comparatively low number of piglet losses.

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