Farrowing Crates For Pigs

What is a farrowing crate?

A farrowing crate is a pen made of metal and wood that confines the sow or gilt so that they do not lay on their piglets. The crate restricts the pigs movement thus protecting the piglets once they are born.

Mixed views are held about farrowing crates as some feel that the crate is cruel as it confines the sow or gilt into a small space and constricts their movements. On the otherhand, some feel that the purpose of confining the pigs movements helps to protect the piglets and therefore prevents un-neccessary deaths due to overlay.

Overlay is when the sow or gilt lays on the piglets and crushes them to death. This is one of the primary causes of death amongst piglets in the early stages of a piglets life.

If a farrowing crate is to be used then the gilt or sow can go into the crate a few days before their farrowing date. This allows the pigs to get accustomed to their new surroundings and relieves stress on the animal as they have time to become familiar with their new routine.

The pig can be fed and watered in the crate although some farmers will turn out their sows twice a day to eat, drink and stretch their legs.

Once the piglets are born the gilt or sow can remain in the crate for a few days or up to when the piglets are weaned.

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