Picture: Seges, Landbrug & Fødevarer
Success with intact tails
Drawing on the experience built up over many years, SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture & Food Council, has helped a number of Danish pig producers to produce pigs with intact tails – without compromising on animal welfare.
One of the objectives of Danish Agriculture & Food Council, Danish Pig Research Centre, is for more Danish pig producers to produce pigs with intact tails. However, it is imperative that this should not be at the cost of animal welfare and increased tail biting.
The Danish Agriculture & Food Council’s research body, SEGES, has launched a project known as “Whole tails – all in”. All Danish pig producers can volunteer to take part and get help and equipment to produce pigs with intact tails.
"When all participating farms are fully up and running, we expect to produce 85,000 pigs with intact tails as a result of this project alone. To this should be added those pig producers who already produce pigs with intact tails, primarily for special productions,” says Dorthe Poulsgård Frandsen, Project Manager at SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre.
The tools that have been developed and tested as part of the project will be shared with other Danish pig producers, who can learn from the participants’ experience. But the most important lesson from the project is that extra time needs to be spent in the housing unit and that any signs of tail-biting must be acted on promptly.
"There is a greater risk of tail biting when tails aren’t docked. Stockpersons should therefore spend extra time in each section to prevent any outbreak of tail-biting. We have discovered that hanging tails are a sign of imminent tail-biting. If this is the case, stockpersons need to take pre-emptive action,” says Dorthe Poulsgård Frandsen.