Effect of Slat and Gap Width of Slatted Concrete Flooring on Sow Gait Using Kinematics Analysis

Animals (Basel). 2019 Apr 30;9(5):206. doi: 10.3390/ani9050206.


The housing of gestating sows in groups requires sound information about the adapted design of the pen floor. Slatted concrete floors are commonly used for effective drainage of manure but can cause feet injuries and lameness. In the present study, kinematics were used to characterize the gait of 12 gilts and 12 lame sows walking in a corridor on slatted concrete floors with different combinations of slat (85, 105 or 125 mm) and gap (19, 22 or 25 mm) widths. The nine experimental floors were tested with slats in the perpendicular and parallel orientation to the direction of animal walk, according to a duplicated lattice design. Gait parameters were quantified using spatial, temporal and angular kinematics for front and rear limbs. Some parameters were significantly affected by the treatments (p < 0.05), but the effects differed between gilts and lame sows and between slat orientations. Gap width had a significant effect on parameters such as back angle, stride length, foot height, and carpal and tarsal joint angle amplitudes. Slat width significantly affected parameters such as foot height, and carpal and tarsal joint angle amplitudes. Comparisons of the different combinations of slat and gap widths revealed that slats with a width of 105-125 mm and gap width of 19-22 mm had the least effect on the gait characteristics of the gilts and sows.

Keywords: kinematics; lameness; lattice design; pig; slatted concrete floor.