Farrowing crates are used in the pork industry to individually house sows during the time of pregnancy. During the time of pregnancy, sows behave in a very different way than how they normally would behave. Sows become far more aggressive, and also have individual needs that must be met to keep the sow and it’s piglets healthy. When sows are put into stalls, it is much easier for the farmer to give the sow the appropriate amount and type of feed that the sow needs at the time of pregnancy. The bars located on the stalls allow for the sow to stand up and lie down carefully, without the risk of stepping or lying on one of the piglets. Sows can weigh anywhere between 400-450 pounds. When piglets are born they only weigh 2-3 pounds, making it very easy for a sow to step or lay on the piglet, and crushing it to death.
Farrowing crates protect sows and their piglets from themselves as well as other aggressive sows. Crates also protect them from outside environmental conditions that may not be ideal for the health of the pigs. “First, we farrow 18 sows a week, they can farrow anywhere from 5 to 7 days apart, so imagine putting 18 sows into one big room with no pens. This is what would happen: the first 2 or 3 sows would be alright with their babies, a couple of days later the next sow would farrow, then the oldest baby pigs would steal the freshest colostrum from the newest sow farrowing. That would cause the youngest piggies to stave off, without colostrum, also the sow farrowing would start savaging the other babies! Savaging means killing any baby pigs that are not their own! Sows are very aggressive when protecting their babies when giving birth!! So to sum it up, it would be an inhumane thing to do!” says a hog farmer from Alberta, Canada named David.
Many activists who disagree with farrowing crates do not understand the logic behind them. They believe that they are inhumane, and are harmful to the pigs, however it is quite the opposite. Everything that a hog farmer does with it’s farrowing crates, they have a legit reason behind it. These farmers are all for the pigs and their well being.
Schultz, S. (2014, April 15). Why Do Hog Farmers Use Farrowing Crates? . Retrieved from http://www.nurselovesfarmer.com/2014/04/farrowing-crates/
Patsche, W. (2015, February 9). WHY WE USE INDIVIDUAL GESTATION STALLS FOR OUR SOWS. Retrieved from http://www.mnfarmliving.com/2015/02/why-use-individual-gestation-pens.html
Heinsohn, B. (n.d.). Use of Gestation and Farrowing Crates in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cookcfb.org/articles/entryid/450/use-of-gestation-and-farrowing-crates-in-the-united-states