The importance of weaning age of piglets and sows welfare and production in loose housing farrowing boxes – a pilot study

Last changed: 13 September 2023
Photo: Sow sitting in a box with straw

There is a lack of scientific data to support the weaning ages set for pigs in EU and Swedish animal welfare legislation.

Previous studies on weaning age in pigs have focused on short-term effects on production and animal welfare in fixed lactation pens or extensive systems where several sows and their piglets are kept together. In addition, previous studies have mainly focused on how the piglets are affected, and to a lesser extent on how the sows are affected by the time of weaning. There is thus a lack of systematic investigations into the weaning process and conflicts between the needs of the sow and the piglets when they are kept in loose individual lactation pens (the most common housing system in Sweden). This pilot study will provide important information on how different weaning ages affect the production and welfare of piglets and sows and pave the way for the development of more comprehensive studies.

This study aims to map piglets and sows production, behaviour, health and general welfare during the lactation period and to identify conflicts between the needs of the sow and the piglets.


Financier: Animal Welfare Kronoberg (Djurskyddet Kronoberg, in Swedish)

Project group: