Animal Biotech Industries, Inc

Quality and Expertise in Animals and Biological Materials Since 1990

ABI Research Swine Facilities

The ABI farrow-to-finish Yorkshire Crossbred swine herd is located on an isolated farm in Pennsylvania that has been completely closed since 1961, with the exception of bringing in boar semen for artificial insemination.

The 300-sow breeding unit produces over 5,000 pigs annually for research. Pigs that are not sold for research are marketed commercially on the local meat markets.

The ABI Research Swine Facilities are divided into the following components:

  • Farrowing and Nursery (FNB)
  • Growing and Shipping (GSB)
  • Breeding/Gestation/Growing (BGG)
  • Commercial Finishing (CFB)
  • Gilt Development (GDB)
  • Gestation (GB)

All swine are housed in confinement buildings, which are designed for swine according to the physiological state of the animals (breeding, gestation, farrowing, weaning, growing, and finishing).

Most buildings are mechanized for ease and efficiency of care and are built over shallow waste pits, which are piped underground to a slurry store. The slurry store is emptied on a routine basis. The HVAC systems vary for each unit.

Gestation and breeding Research Swine Facilities

Breeding / Gestation / Growing (BGG):

Once the sows/gilts are bred artificially, they are moved to the gestation crates for 40 days to maximize reproductive performance and reduce stress. These animals are then moved to open gestation pens in groups of 16 for the remaining 70 days of their gestation. Sows/gilts are moved once more to their farrowing crates for parturition (farrowing).


Each month the bred animals are transferred to the farrowing units where they will give birth to their litters. The average litter size at birth is 11; each piglet weighs approximately 3 lbs. and the length of time that they are in the crate with their mothers is 3 weeks. During this time in the crate, the piglets will grow very rapidly, doubling their weight every 6 days until they are weaned. At 21 days of age all piglets are weaned from their mothers in the farrowing house (weighing 17-18 lbs. each) and transferred to the nursery. Once the piglets are weaned, the mothers will come into a post weaning estrus approximately 4 days later. After the litters are weaned the females are transferred back to the breeding and gestation complex for another cycle of breeding. It takes 5 months from breeding until weaning for the process to begin again. Therefore, each breeding female will experience 2.2 cycles per year.
Research swine facility

Grow and Shipping (GSB)

Growing pigs are moved up to growing pens within the GSB after leaving the nursery and will remain in these compatible groups until they reach 200 lbs.  Pigs are then transferred to the commercial finishing building (CFB) until they reach commercial market weight.  Each pen has concrete slatted flooring over a shallow waste pit system, as well as environmental enrichment devices such as stainless steel chains, plastic balls, and hanging lixit valves.

Building / Room Ventilation:

The research swine facilities are cross-ventilated using inside (thermostatically controlled) curtains as well as outside (manually controlled) curtains to bring in outside fresh air.  The Breeding/Gestating/Growing Building has HEPA-filtered growing rooms, which are maintained by a state-of-the-art ventilation system from Denmark.  Filtered air enters the rooms and deflects off the ceiling to ventilate the animals in a more uniform manner.  The air is exhausted at the center of the room via stacks that are 7 and 14 feet in height above the roofline. The stacks allow the exhausted air to be diluted upon exit with the natural airflow, thus reducing the contamination at the ground level.  This system completes a minimum of 10 air changes per hour and it is adjustable for greater exchanges.  PuraFire propane gas heaters are used in all animal rooms for heat in the winter.  The farrowing area for the nursing sows/gilts is kept at 70-75 degrees F, with the nursing piglet area being kept at 85-90 degrees F.  The hot nursery rooms are kept at 74-77 degrees F.   The growing pig rooms are kept at 66-75 degrees F depending on the age/size of the animals.

Research Swine Facilities room ventilation system