Sow Stance Information System (SowSIS)
Developed together with UGent (fac. Veterinary Science), SowSIS consists of four independent balances that are incorporated into the flooring of the feeding station in the sows’ gestation pen. SowSIS is therefore able to weight the four legs separately (one balance per leg), without disturbing the animals. Such data can be transformed to variables that are related to lameness such as weight shifting, reluctance to bear weight on painful leg (weight asymmetry) or lifting one or more legs (number of kicks). Such variables differ between non-lame and lame sows and the validity of SowSIS detection lameness has already been proven at a group level (see Pluym et al. 2013) at a group level. Therefore, changes in these variables within an individual sow are a promising tool to detect developing lameness in that sow. Hence, these variables are used to further develop an automatic lameness detection system at individual level which would be a supporting tool for the farmer and would enable earlier and more appropriate lameness treatment (Zeusens research project). This could potentially be translated into substantial improvement of the welfare of the animals as well as significant mitigation of the lameness-related costs for the farmers.
Annelies Van Nuffel