Acting on Instinct: Sows Build Nests

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Who knew? Hogs like to build nests. In fact, it’s an instinctual behavior in pregnant sows as they get ready to give birth to piglets and afterwards in preparation for nursing. Our farmers take great care to provide pregnant and nursing hogs with an environment that feels natural to them and safe for their offspring. When hogs are raised indoors in confinement, including especially in crates, they can’t build nests. This can be stressful on the animals and contribute to infant mortality. A main reason crates were created in the first place was to reduce infant mortality and prevent sows from accidentally rolling over on newborn piglets that have trouble getting out of the way in tight quarters when sows decide to lie down. That’s why our farmers provide covered stalls or huts for sows to farrow and nurse and each one, per Animal Welfare Approved guidelines is equipped with bedding material for making nests and a protected area for piglets. Just a simple wooden guard rail a few inches off the ground gives piglets room to get out of the way. And as this video demonstrates, room to play!