On 29 – 30 April 2015 Denmark hosted an international conference “Improving Pig Welfare – what are the ways forward?“.
Below you find ‘soundbites’ from posters presented at the the conference, all more or less related to the subjects of study in the FareWellDock project.
Do increasing amounts of straw increase growing pigs’ oral manipulation of straw?
Margit Bak Jensen, Mette S. Herskin, Björn Forkman, Lene J. Pedersen
Pigs were provided with various amounts of unchopped straw (10-500 gr/pig/day) to determine the amount of straw where additional provision did not further increase pigs’ exploratory behaviour.
Increasing the straw amount from 10 to 360 g straw per pig per day increased the time pigs spent in oral manipulation of straw markedly, while increasing the straw amount above 430 g straw per pig per day had no additional effect .
Approximately 400 g long straw per pig per day maximizes straw‐directed behaviour in partly slatted concrete floor (0.7 m2/pig)
Providing various amounts of straw (10-500 gr/pig/day) showed that oral manipulation of straw increases steadily up to 360 g straw/p/d. (M. Bak-Jensen et al.)
Increasing amounts of straw increase growing pigs’ production and healthLene J. Pedersen, Mette S. Herskin, Björn Forkman, Henrik Elvang Jensen, Margit B. Jensen
Aim: To quantify the amount of straw needed to achieve health and production effects, we investigated the effect of straw amount on the prevalence of gastric ulcers and production parameters.
Animals & housing: In both experiments pigs were housed in groups of 18 per pen, with partly slatted concrete floor (0.7 m2/pig) and fed a commercial dry feed for ad libitum intake.
Conclusion: The average daily gain (ADG) increased by 8±17 g/day for every extra 100 g straw added daily (P<0.001) resulting in 42 g higher ADG at 500 compared to 10 g straw provided. The feed conversion ratio was not affected by amounts of straw. The proportion of pigs with ulcerations was reduced by permanent access to straw (7 vs. 33%; P<0.05). Based on these results, production and health parameters were improved by increasing amounts of straw to pigs kept in conventional pens.
More straw improves production (ADG) and health (ulceration) parameters of pigs significantly (L.J. Pedersen et al.)
Tail biters may have a relatively high innate immune status (Ursinus et al.)
Straw provided to growing/finishing pigs resulted in a lower prevalence of tail lesions at slaughter (Dippel et al.)
The SchwIP management tool for tail biting in fattening pigs: a comprehensive approach for a complex problem (Dippel et al.)
Farm specific reports with causal explanations facilitate farmer engagement and knowledge transfer (Dippel et al.)
Tail lesions on carcasses of Irish slaughter pigs in relation to producer association with advisory services
N. van Staaveren, D. L. Teixeira, A. Hanlon and L. A. Boyle
The high prevalence of moderate tail lesions in a large proportion of batches of slaughter pigs suggests that chronic tail manipulation is a widespread problem. The large variation between batches indicates that there is good scope for improvement in the housing and management of pigs to reduce this behaviour on Irish farms. Given the economic and welfare implications of even moderate tail lesions it would benefit producers to receive information from the factory on such lesions recorded during meat inspection. This could help inform farm management plans and enable intervention before the behaviour escalates into tail biting.
The high prevalence of moderate tail lesions in a large proportion of batches of IE slaughter pigs suggests that chronic tail manipulation is a widespread problem (Van Staaveren et al.).
The large variation in tail biting between batches indicates that there is good scope for improvement in the housing and management of pigs to reduce this behaviour.
It would benefit pig producers to receive information about tail lesions recorded during meat inspection. This could help inform farm management and enable intervention before the behaviour escalates into tail biting (Van Staaveren et al.).
Experiences with Intact Tails in Well-Managed Conventional Herds
H.P. Lahrmann, T. Jensen, E. Damsted
Even in well-managed herds in average one out of two pigs is at risk of getting a tail lesion between 7-85 kg (Lahrmann et al., pilot study in DK).
Straw Use and Prevention of Tail Biting in Undocked Pigs – a Survey of Housing and Management Routines in Swedish Pig Farms
Stefan Gunnarsson, Beth Young and Rebecka Westin
The Swedish farmers reported limited problems with tail biting in finishing pigs. In nurseries tail biting was rarely observed.
Straw was provided to the pigs more or less daily.
Distribution of straw caused no problems with the manure system in 58% of the nurseries and in 81% of the finishing units (Gunnarsson et al.).
The Effect of an Enriched Environment on Biting Behavior and Performance of Finishing Pigs with Intact Tails
A. Bulens, S. Van Beirendonck, J. Van Thielen, N. Buys, B. Driessen
Pigs performed better in pens enriched with hanging toy, straw blocks and hiding wall: pigs had higher body weight at 90 kg and at 120kg, and showed less frustration and less tail manipulation. (Bulens et al.)
Curly Tails: the Dutch Approach
Marion Kluivers, Carola van der Peet, Anita Hoofs, Nienke Dirx, Nanda Ursinus, Liesbeth Bolhuis, Geert van der Peet
Dutch Curly Tails project aims at closing the gap between science and practice, and relieving the anxiety and scepticism about keeping pigs with long tails in current systems.
During the first year researchers and animal caretakers developed a mutual understanding that enabled putting scientific knowledge into practice (Kluivers et al.)
Costs and labour of keeping pigs with intact tails should not be underestimated (Kluivers et al.)
Biting behaviour can already start in the farrowing unit (Kluivers et al.)
Coaching, creating trust, transferring knowledge are essential in the process towards keeping pigs with long intact tails (Kluivers et al.)
How to solve a conflict without getting into a fight? Space for conflict resolution should not be regarded as an unnecessary luxury (Camerlink et al.)