Date Full Report Received01/20/2006
Date Abstract Report Received07/25/2007
Funded ByNational Pork Board
This research evaluated three factors (namely feed withdrawal prior to transportation, mixing of pigs from different groups on the trailer, and floor space on the trailer) potentially associated with losses of pigs during transport to the slaughter plant. These were studied in 72 loads of pigs from the same production site transported at two times of the year (February-March and August-September) to the same slaughter plant.
Total transport losses were very low, averaging around 0.30% of pigs transported. There was no effect on transport losses of either withdrawing feed for 24 hours prior to transport or of mixing of pigs on the truck. The floor spaces that were evaluated were (4.2, 5.0, and 5.8 ft2/pig) represented the range that can be observed in commercial practice.
There was no effect of floor space on the trailer on total transport losses for the loads transported in February-March. However, under the warmer ambient condition experienced in August-September, total transport losses were increased at the lowest (4.2 ft2/pig) compared to the other two floor spaces. Pig behavior during the journey was also influenced by floor space on the trailer; pigs at the lowest floor space spent more time sitting and less time standing than those on the two higher floor spaces.
This research suggests that crowding pigs during transport under hot conditions can increase transport losses and also that it is feasible to transport pigs under commercial conditions with minimal losses.