Manipulable materials - are you using them?
It's an ongoing discussion - mainpulable materials in
a pig house seem quite incompatible with a slatted flooring system. Why not
consider the relatively simple idea of straw racks?
|In the UK, as part of our legislative requirement, growing and finishing pigs
must have permanent access to a sufficient
quantity of material (such as |
straw, hay, wood, sawdust, mushroom compost, peat)
to enable proper investigation and manipulation
However, it is
felt that most pig
ignoring this or only paying lip service to it, especially if the pigs are on
slatted floors and materials either block up the slats or drop straight through.
How do you get over the problem or are there any innovative ideas to solve the
Increasingly the way we keep pigs is coming
under more and more scrutiny. The pressure from welfare lobbies is growing and
both national and EU government are listening to them.
So how do we keep
pigs in a welfare-friendly way yet maintain many of the production advantages
that have been seen with slatted floor systems over the years?
veterinary point of view, I like them, as the pigs are cleaner, dung and urine
is easily disposed of, there is usually less enteric disease and also PMWS
On the other hand I suspect the pigs get bored
and start using other pigs as potentially manipulable materials, until a full
blown tail-biting or ear-biting epidemic starts. Toys
Toys and other objects are sometimes used, but according
to our welfare codes
should be changed every week again to stop boredom. Balls, lumps of wood,
chains, alkathene-pipe helicopters have all been used, but with moderate
On one farm, I saw straw racks being used, which were
surprisingly effective. A relatively simple idea, which gave the pigs access to
straw without it blocking up the slats or having to chop it up and wasting most
you got any ideas that can be easily adopted to solve the
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