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Use of materials for avoiding tail biting

In many cases, the use of materials that lessen the piglets' boredom helps to control the problem.

We all know about the big problems that tail biting can cause on our farms. A great number of the pigs that have been bitten must be euthanized on the farm and, if not, there is a high number of condemned carcasses or portions of carcasses in the abattoir due to the presence of abscesses and the appearance of pyaemia.

This problem is normally seen at the nursery and the fattening stage, and the causes may be very different: environmental, handling, nutritional, health, etc.

If we wish to eliminate tail biting, we should control the possible causes that trigger this problem.

Nevertheless, in many cases, the use of materials that lessen the pigs' boredom will help to control the problem. These materials work better if they are placed at a certain height than if they are placed on the floor. Next we will show some options:

- Use of a bucket attached to the ceiling with a string; the string will descend as the pigs play with it.

Use of a bucket atached to the ceiling with a string; the string will descend as the pigs play with it.

Ulrik Olsen, www.hyotoys.dk

- Use of feeders with straw. They are also used in the case of sows in order to reduce fights in the confirmed gestation pens.

Use of feeders with straw.

Ulrik Olsen, www.hyotoys.dk

- Use of pieces of wood held into place with rings or chains. The pieces of wood placed at a certain height attract the pigs’ attention better that if we leave them on the floor.

Use of piecees of wood

Pieces of wood held into place with rings. Pieces of wood held into place with chains.

- Use of chains placed at a certain height in the middle of the pen

Use of chains placed at a certain height in the middle of the pen

These simple systems entail an amusement for the pigs. In this way we are able to avoid or reduce greatly the tail biting problem. We must not forget that in order to completely avoid the appearance of the problem we must know the exact cause and take the necessary measures for its complete correction.

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