Contact Tech Support
Contact Regional Offices

With Loose Sow Hog Barn Designs You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!


New Standard Staff

Cake and Eat it Too.png

Okay, we know you came to read this article because this cake looks amazing - so don't worry - we included a special cake recipe just for you. If you did come to read about loose sow housing, great! We're sorry we're tempting you with these images. Either way, the point is when it comes to performance and animal welfare in group housing, you can have the both of best worlds.


Why Early Reports Don't Tell the Story

Performance reports from early group sow housing barns have been used to scare producers away from moving to these units. These reports showed how ineffective group sow housing units were with sow reproductive performance and aggression reduction. With many of North America's initial barns, production did drop and aggression and mortality rates did go up, but this was due to poor planning and design. 

To understand the full story, we have to compare those barn designs with newer, high producing barns.

The Best of Both Worlds

The misconception has been that you can't open up space and mix gestating sows and still have the same level or better production as a stall barn. That is far from the truth. There is a way to comply with consumer demands -and- maintain efficient operations. Group housing hog barn designs are much more advanced than the early designs we hear about.

With careful consideration, planning, and an understanding of the sows' needs, group gestation pens will maintain your production numbers. As your sows and your staff become more familiar with pen gestation and electronic sow feeding equipment, your production and efficiency will increase.

The largest fear many producers have is the ability to keep sows less stressed and keep the aggressive girls from harming others. There have been some horror stories with group gestation pens, but when you design your pen with enough square footage for the aggressive sows to have their space, you won't run into these issues. 

So yes, in sow housing, you CAN have your cake and eat it too! Learn how to design a hog pen that minimizes sow aggression.

How to Minimize Sow Aggression

Designing Your Hog Barn for the Future

Here is the icing on the cake. Group housing designs put you in a position to better adopt future technology and adapt to future consumer demands and legislation. The amount of technology we can incorporate in a sow pen is limitless, and as research continues, we will be able to implement technologies that will greatly impact each barn's capabilities and efficiency.

When we interviewed Tim Friedel from Thomas Livestock, he reiterated that the major draw to group housing and ESF stations for him was the ability to implement technology and data collection. They simply could not do this as effectively in their current stall barn. Read more on what Tim had to say.


We strongly believe in the loose sow gestation pens, not because of social pressure, but because these barn designs will allow producers to more effectively manage their facilities and implement future technologies more easily and at a lower cost. If you are interested in learning more about the technology that we are implementing in our barns, check out these articles:

Sow Weight Monitoring
Is Your Barn Ready for the Next 20 Years?
Data is Money

As Promised, Here's Your Cake Recipe!

What goes well with chocolate?  Bacon.

What goes well with bacon?  Maple.

So why not throw them all together into something everybody loves...cake! As promised, hear is a recipe for a Maple Bacon Chocolate Cake. We never said we were health coaches.

Get the recipe here!


take our loose sow housing content survey

Topics: Design, Sow Housing, Recipes


Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Articles