Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Animals (Basel). 2019 Apr 22;9(4). pii: E185. doi: 10.3390/ani9040185.

Feasibility Study: Improving Floor Cleanliness by Using a Robot Scraper in Group-Housed Pregnant Sows and Their Reactions on the New Device.

Author information

1
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany. ebertz@uni-bonn.de.
2
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany. krommweh@uni-bonn.de.
3
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany. buescher@uni-bonn.de.

Abstract

Successful pig farming needs the best conditions of cleanliness in the housings. The present study examined for the first time whether a robot scraper usually applied in dairy farming is usable in sow housings for cleaning the slatted floors and improving hygiene and thus animal welfare. For evaluating the suitability of the robot scraper with regard to the cleaning performance (polluted surface area and occluded slots), the whole housing area was divided into score-squares, which were individually scored at defined intervals. Selected excrement quantities removed by the robot were weighed. In order to assess the animals' interactions with the robot scraper, their behaviour towards the device was observed. Although the faeces of pigs had a firmer consistency than bovine excrement, excrement quantities of up to 1.4 kg m-2 were almost completely removed. Even 6 h after the cleaning its effect was still visible. Dry-cleaning led faster to nonslip surfaces for the sows than wet-cleaning. Within half an hour of observation, up to 8.2 of 120 sows were occupied with the robot scraper, but without harming it. The use of robot scrapers in pig housings is recommended, although slight technical modifications should be made to the robot scraper.

KEYWORDS:

acceptance of moving objects in gestating sows; animal welfare; hygiene of slatted floors; livestock; mobile barn cleaner; modified cleaning robot; polluted surface areas of barns; scoring of barn floors

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center