Fattening pigs must have access to toys. They are useful when the animals are nervous, and they avoid problems related to biting.
Fixed toys have several problems. The first one is that if they are always in the same place and position, the animals lose interest because they become bored and stop paying attention to them. Also, not all the groups of pigs are equal or behave in the same way. The animals in some pens are more nervous and would benefit from having access to several toys, instead of a single one.
Another problem is that the fixed elements can entail a problem when the staff enter the pen to load the pigs or to clean the pens, because the workers can bump into them.
This system is based on of piece of chain and disk conveyor held to a welded metallic structure that we can fit in any partition wall and that can be moved from pen to pen.
The experience on the farm is that pigs prefer the chain and disk conveyor piece with plastic alternated with metal than the metal chain alone. If the chain is away from the wall so it can be easily moved by the animals, has a good length and several pigs can bite it at the same time, they find it much more interesting.
The advantages, apart from its cost, is that when we take it to the different pens, the animals are much more interested due to the novelty. On the other hand, it is very easy to remove it when we have to enter the pen, so it will not disturb us while working. Another important thing is that if there is a pen with very nervous animals, we can place several toys on that specific pen.
As always that we work with animals, the most important thing is that the staff knows how to detect when the toys must be introduced and when should be removed to create again the ‘novelty’ effect.