Monthly Archives: October 2014

Fresh wood reduces tail and ear biting and increases exploratory behaviour in finishing pigs

We found e.g. that pieces of recently harvested young birch trees, suspended horizontally below snout level and with a length of 30 cm of tree stem per pig, reduced mild tail and ear biting and increased object exploration, but did not reduce severe tail biting, i.e. biting part of the tail off. Another finding was that a polythene pipe cross, suspended horizontally at snout level, also increased object exploration (as compared to controls with a simple metal chain) but did not reduce tail and ear biting, supporting earlier findings that the frequency of object exploration is not a sufficient predictor of the capacity of that object to reduce tail biting.

Telkänranta, H., Bracke, M.B.M. and Valros, A. 2014. Fresh wood reduces tail and ear biting and increases exploratory behaviour in finishing pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 161: 51-59(doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.09.007).

Telk√§nranta, H. Research results on pig enrichment – The research project “New innovations for environmental enrichment on pig farms (in English, Swedisch and Finnish). University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine