Posts Tagged ‘enrichment’

Looking for information on enrichment for pigs?  Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA Swine Specialist has written a helpful article Enrichment for Pigs that summarizes  ‘Section 1.8 Enrichment’ from the Code of Practice.

penning with pig toys attachedDSCF5988

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A lot of producers stopped by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs booth at Pork Congress to share their ideas for enrichment toys. Some ideas  included pen of pigs playing with toyblocks of wood, rope, tough dog chews, straw, rubber balls and commercially manufactured toys.  Some producers hung these on chains while others let the pigs root them around in the pen.    All pigs have a need to chew and root. By providing enrichment toys this need is satisfied and tail and ear biting may be reduced.

The need to provide some form of enrichment toys is included in the new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs.  What are your pigs playing with?


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Enrichment toys for pigs satisfy the pigs need to chew and root.  By providing enrichment toys this need is satisfied and tail and ear biting may be reduced. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food booth (A3/A4 in the Agriplex) at the Ontario Pork Congress forpenning with pig toys attached more information and a demonstration.


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The National Farm Animal Care Council new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, released in March, has a requirement for pigs to be provided with multiple forms of environmental enrichment to improve their welfare through the enhancement of their physical and social environments.

In an interview with Farmscape, Prairie Swine Centre president and CEO Lee Whittington says the requirement is very general acknowledging that pigs are curious animals.

“The way I would interpret this is that all kinds of aspects of enrichment become part of that, so simply pigs having access to other pigs, access to feed and feeders and some producers put toys in the pen.
On a recent trip to Denmark one of the most popular things for enrichment that they use is really just a wooden post in a sleeve in the corner of the pen that pigs chew on, pick up, knock down and it’s treated just like another piece of equipment in the pen. Enrichment is not prescriptive in any way.
It just recognizes that all pigs are curious and all pigs would benefit, their welfare would benefit by having some enrichment. Producers are open to interpret that and include the kind of enrichment that works. It is not prescriptive and doesn’t require straw, I think, is the important thing that producers need to realize, that whether it’s rubber toys, suspended ropes, in the UK I’ve seen lots of people using rubber garden hose suspended on a chain and then they simply keep replacing the garden hose as it becomes chewed up. We know that pigs are curious and they have great oral capacity to touch and move things and that’s what this enrichment area is all about.”

For information on what has been done in the UK, see the Pig Site article, Environmental Enrichment for Pigs, it identifies key things pigs need in enrichment toys.



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