FARM-LED lighting systems
Lighting pigs for fattening
The lighting inside a pigsty must allow the animals to orient themselves visually in the housing areas and to access without difficulty the different areas of the pen (feeding and drinking area, resting area and defecation area); moreover, it must allow the operator to easily control the animals.
The competitive behavior that follows the placement and subsequent grouping of unfamiliar pigs has been recognized as one of the main welfare problems for pig farming, as it can lead to injuries, lameness and health problems.
Strategies to limit these problems can therefore improve animal welfare in practice.
A strategy designed to curb competitive behavior is to reduce the availability of visual stimuli that potentially cause aggression.
For this reason it was found that the housing of pigs in the first 48 hours after placement in the dark is able to reduce the number, duration and intensity of conflicts that occur between pigs to establish a dominance hierarchy. Some scientific works have shown that darkness is the only viable remedy to put an end to aggression between animals in some very serious forms of cannibalism.
Several studies report that the photoperiod duration of 16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark leads to a greater weight gain and a more advantageous conversion index.
Furthermore, the results of the performances obtained are confirmed by the behavioral parameters of well-being, from which it is observed that the pigs exposed to a greater photoperiod or a higher light intensity generally showed behaviors referable to greater tranquility, with an increase in time. spent at rest in decubitus and a reduction in abnormal behaviors indicating discomfort (less presence of stereotypies).
Considering social interactions as well-being indicators, it is possible to appreciate a reduction in competitive-type activities and a tendential increase in neutral, non-competitive activities by subjects exposed to greater light intensity and a longer photoperiod; this confirms the positive role of a good level of enlightenment in promoting recognition between animals and in establishing effective relationships of social cooperation.
A greater number of hours and intensity of light allow to make the most of environmental enrichments, as the pigs are able to see each other better and to distinguish small objects or visual signals and to be able to see what they are rooting.
It is also clearly demonstrated that behavioral problems, such as aggression, excessive competition and over-exploration, are normally generated by environmental and managerial problems (insufficient space, inadequate macro and microclimatic conditions, food shortages, poor environmental stimuli, etc. ) which should be solved specifically, rather than being "corrected", by resorting to inappropriate measures such as reducing light intensity.