Research has shown gestating sows can benefit from narrower slat and gap widths in slatted concrete flooring.
As part of research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists with the University of Manitoba examined the effect of narrowing the slat and gap widths of slatted concrete flooring on manure handling and the well being of group housed gestating sows.
Dr. Qiang Zhang, a professor in Biosystems Engineering with the University of Manitoba, says the work will be useful in helping select floor configurations for loose housed sows.
Typically the slatted floor has a slat and then we have the slot so that dictates the drainage of the manure. In North America this five inch, one inch combination is commonly used. One of the questions is, would this combination work for all sizes of pigs?
Most of the farms we saw, it’s based on the growing finishing pigs and we don’t have any standard for designing slatted floors for gestation sows. So we did a study with the different floor configurations. We actually had sows walk on the corridor then we video taped all the movement of sows and based on that we came out with a best combination of the slat and slot width.
That combination is four and a quarter inches of slat width and three quarters of gap width. That’s a little bit narrower than the commonly used five inch slat with a one inch gap.
~ Dr. Qiang Zhang, University of Manitoba
Dr. Zhang says there were no difference in manure drainage, air quality, floor cleanliness, sow cleanliness or sow performance but there was a noticeable difference in the number of foot lesions among sows housed in the room with the narrower slats and gaps.