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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

Simple winter housing systems for sheep - Consequences for health, welfare, production and economy

Awarded: NOK 2.5 mill.

The research project FåreBygg, which was launched in 2013, will be completed by June 2019. The project was based on the industry's need for knowledge of cost-effective sheep building and operating solutions, and was developed and carried out in close collaboration between partners from the sheep industry and research institutions. The broad and interdisciplinary approach has contributed to results that will form an important basis for further development of a future-oriented and sustainable production of Norwegian sheep meat. The project's main results were presented at the project's final seminar at Tynset 28.2.2019. To understand how different simple building solutions and access to outdoor areas affect the sheep's health, welfare and production parameters, both questionnaires and farm visits were carried out. The sheep house should not only safeguard the animals' needs during the winter feeding period, but it is also the workplace of the farmer, and potentially of great importance for the farmer's working day. Our starting point in FåreBygg has therefore been that one must see the farmer's welfare in connection with animal welfare. Of the 3764 sheep producers who received the survey, 1206 responded. With this survey we wanted to find out more about the effect of various building and management solutions on the sheep's health and the farmer's physical working environment. Are there connections between how the farmer experiences his working environment, job satisfaction, work motivation and attitudes to handling the sheep? For the field work, we have further developed a welfare protocol for sheep. With this protocol, we conducted welfare assessments in 64 sheep herds in different parts of the country. Health surveys of 1759 sheep were carried out, in addition to a number of environmental registrations in the barn. At the closing seminar, information about which factors at the barn and the farm that have the most to say for the various health and behavioral indicators of sheep welfare were presented. In order to better answer the question of how much space sheep need, we carried out an experiment in which lakes had a bean spot of . We made extensive behavioral observations on the activity of the sheep in pens of 0.75 m2 / ewe, 1.50 m2 /ewe and 2.25 m2 /ewe. Furthermore, we conducted an experiment where we measured the eating speed of the sheep both when they were eating alone and two together. In one experiment, the intake of drinking water was measured daily for the first 14 days after birth. The results showed that the water uptake varied surprisingly both between ewes and from day to day. In a survey in 2012, 90% of the sheep-keepers stated that they fed the sheep with roughage more than once daily. It suggests that they have a traditional feed tray system. However, the use of feed hedges and round bales is simpler and more labor-saving, but a clear drawback is the large feed spill. In two trials, the amount of feed waste was recorded by different types of feed hedges, different quality of roughage and amount of feed in the feed hedge (whole / half round bales) for groups of pregnant ewes. The amount of feed spill was generally large, and actually corresponded to an expected daily feed intake. Costs and working hours in new sheep farms: Simple solutions or automation? A survey was conducted of sheep farmers who built new barns in 2008 or later, based on the survey that was conducted earlier in the project. In the survey, we asked about investments, machine and operating costs and working hours in the barn, including handling of manure. These data will be used to find out what drives total costs in new sheep houses, to what extent mechanization actually reduces labor costs, and whether there are large differences in costs in different types of buildings. The Project generated 1 PhD thesis, 12 Scientific articles, 13 Conference presentations and 35 popular Scientific presentations.

Betydningen av bondens indre motivasjon for sauens velferd er ny. Selv om fjøstype har mindre betydning for bondens trivsel og sauens velferd så vil resultatene være veiledende, for eksempel om fordeler og ulemper med ulike gulvtyper. Løsninger som letter den fysiske arbeidsbelastningen er av betydning for bondens jobbtilfredshet, og resultatene vil kunne benyttes i arbeid med å fremme god jobbtilfredshet og rekruttering til næringa. Med de forelagte resultatene vedrørende arealkrav til søyer skulle Mattilsynet nå ha grunnlag for å fastsette regelverkskrav. For de mange saueholderne som fôrer med rundballer i fôrhekker vil dataene kunne bidra til å iverksette rutiner som reduserer fôrsølet. Kunnskap om de store variasjonene i opptak av vann hos søyer med lam er nyttig for saueholderne, særlig i lammingsperioden. For de som vil bygge nytt eller bygge om fjøs kan resultatene gi viktige råd for hvilke løsninger som velges og hvilke avveininger man bør gjøre.

In order to save building costs, various designs of simple winter housing solutions are increasingly used in Norwegian sheep production. Typical designs are closed houses with slatted floors and in-house manure storage or non-insulated deep litter sheds, some of which have access to outdoor runs. However, little is known about the profitability of these solutions and their influence on the animals. In order to develop recommendations for cost-efficient building designs and management solutions for the Nor wegian sheep industry, the aim of this project is to investigate relationships between simple housing designs, management and quality of stockmanship, and sheep health, welfare, production and economy. These complex relationships will be addressed using a multidisciplinary research approach (i.e. veterinary medicine, behavioural biology, animal housing, farm management, psychology and sociology). A welfare assessment protocol will be used on farm visits to assess sheep health, behaviour and production, a nd data procured will be merged with slaughterhouse data. A questionnaire will be used to investigate management routines and sheep health, relationships between building solutions and the farmers work satisfaction and motivation. Effects of feeding syste ms and space allowance on feed intake will be investigated, and sheep farms with different indoor group lambing systems will be visited to analyse lamb survival and growth. Labour requirements and economic returns in simple housing systems will be evaluat ed using capital budgeting techniques. The project is based on the industrys urgent need for knowledge regarding cost-efficient sheep housing systems and was developed through close collaboration between industry partners and research institutions. It is expected that the multidisciplinary approach will provide results that will form an important basis of recommendations for the development of sustainable and increased sheep meat production in Norway.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri