Farmscape for November 24, 2021
A research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre says the choice and location of enrichments provided to pigs will differ, depending on the type and stage of growth of the pigs.
"Appropriate Enrichment for Sows and Growing Pigs" was among the topics discussed last week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2021.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says as the pigs grow there are different things they will prefer.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
Younger pigs are keen to explore things more whereas when we get into sows and market pigs, they like to explore things too but they need things that are more robust and going to have a longer lifespan.
Nursery pigs can't destroy things as easily as a finisher pig.
But then, when we get into sows, they're quite different in that, with being feed restricted and on concentrated diets, they're very motivated for any enrichment that provides a satiety of a sensation of eating or something they can actually consume.
So, depending on the stage, we've got different enrichments.
If you've got a group of finisher pigs, you have to be very aware of where we put the enrichments, so not in the lying area because pigs are going to lie and rest there and if pigs are engaging with the enrichments, they're going to be walking on each other so you've got to be very aware of where we're putting them, not in a corner or in a tight area.
We want multiple pigs to be able to interact with it and then be aware that, depending on the number of animals in a pen, we have to provide enough enrichment to allow access to many individuals at once.
Those are some of the considerations when providing enrichment.
Dr. Brown notes providing enrichments to pigs at an early age will stimulate natural behavior and help prevent negative behaviors such as flank and tail biting as the animals grow.
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