Vices in weaned pigs and in growing pigs can be present in several animal production farmsherds, causing economic losses and increasing concern for animal welfare.

Alternative names: abnormal behaviour


Vices can be caused by many reasons. Environments and inadequate management can cause aggressions. Pigs biting tails or ears of other pigs give the impression of being unhappy: you have to separate the attacking pigs and bring them out of the pen.

In the case of sows, vices are limited to vulva bites, especially during the last 3-4 weeks of gestation. It may be an important problem in the case of sows that are not tied in group and with mismanagement problems. In these cases there may be 80% of sows on the farm with their vulva completely bitten. Very injured vulvas may cure showing a scar that can lead to strictures or narrowing and difficulties during farrow.



  • Vulva bites.

Lactating piglets

  • They suck the prepuce.


  • They suck the penis / cord.
  • They suck the prepuce.
  • They suck ears.
  • Tail biting. 

Fattening stage

  • Tail biting.
  • Necrosis of ears.
  • Chewing feet.
  • Flank Biting.




  • Vulva injuries are frequent.
  • Evidence of blood in the skin and nose of sows indicates the possibility of this condition.
  • Severe hemorrhage with dead of some animals.

Lactating piglets

  • It is not present.

Nursery and fattening

  • Skin trauma and infection.
  • Lameness.
  • Mortality.


Causes / Contributing Factors

Management factors:

  • A change in diet.
  • Very humid environment.
  • Tails too long.
  • Aggressive breeds.
  • Air drafts.
  • If there is no bed.
  • Temperature fluctuations.
  • Trauma.
  • High air speed.
  • Not comfortable conditions.
  • High density of animals.
  • Unhappy pigs.
  • Lack of feeding space.
  • Lack of water.
  • Ammonia levels> 20 ppm.
  • Pigs too small for the environment.
  • Poor design of the pens.
  • Feeders poorly located.

Nutritional factors:

  • Little salt in the diet.
  • Inadequate nutrition.
  • Changes in diet.
  • Low availability of feed.



  • It is based on the observations and in skin lesions.



  • Separate the affected animals.
  • Separate the aggressive animals that are causing damage.
  • Identify the main cause. This is very difficult and requires time and a good observation of the behavior of pigs.