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Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

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PART 4SOWS AND GILTS

23.  Pregnant gilts and sows shall, where necessary, be treated against external and internal parasites.

Farrowing

24.  Before they are placed in farrowing crates, pregnant sows and gilts shall be thoroughly cleaned.

25.  In the week before the expected farrowing time sows and gilts shall be given suitable nesting material in sufficient quantity unless it is not technically feasible because of the slurry system used.

26.  During farrowing, an unobstructed area behind the sow or gilt shall be available for the ease of natural or assisted farrowing.

27.  Farrowing pens where sows or gilts are kept loose shall have some means of protecting the piglets, such as farrowing rails.

Group housing

28.  Sows and gilts shall be kept in groups except during the period between seven days before the predicted day of farrowing and the day on which the weaning of piglets (including any piglets fostered) is complete.

29.  The pen where the group is kept shall have sides greater than 2.8 metres in length, except when there are less than 6 individuals in the group, when the sides of the pen shall be no less than 2.4 metres in length.

30.  The total unobstructed floor area available to each gilt after service and to each sow when gilts or sows or gilts and sows are kept in groups shall be at least 1.64 m2 and 2.25 m2 respectively. When these animals are kept in groups of less than 6 individuals the unobstructed floor area shall be increased by 10%. When these animals are kept in groups of 40 or more individuals the unobstructed floor area may be decreased by 10%.

31.  For gilts after service and pregnant sows a part of the area required in paragraph 30 equal to at least 0.95 m2 per gilt and at least 1.3 m2 per sow shall be of continuous solid floor of which a maximum of 15% is reserved for drainage openings.

32.  Sows and gilts kept on holdings of fewer than 10 sows may be kept individually provided that their accommodation complies with the requirements of paragraphs 6 and 7.

33.  In addition to the requirements of paragraph 13, sows and gilts shall be fed using a system which ensures that each individual can obtain sufficient food even when competitors for the food are present.

34.  All dry pregnant sows and gilts shall be given a sufficient quantity of bulky or high fibre food as well as high energy food to satisfy their hunger and need to chew.

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