Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

More pigs with intact tails

SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre has published a new guide to make it easier for pig producers to produce pigs with intact tails. The initiative is based on the 2014 Pig Action Plan and on the objective that more producers should be encouraged to discontinue the practice of tail docking.

How can Danish pig producers produce pigs with intact tails – without compromising on animal welfare? A new guide sets out to address this question. It not only provides pig producers with detailed advice on working with pigs with intact tails on a day-to-day basis, it is also another step on the way to ensuring that there are more pigs with intact tails in Danish pig production. How best to handle pigs with intact tails is still an open question. Essentially, it comes down to spotting early signs of tail biting, identifying the biter, and ensuring the correct rooting and enrichment material.

"The guide sets out to answer many of the outstanding questions and provides some helpful advice about how producers can avoid tail docking their pigs. The guide also contains videos, checklists and recommendations to help producers on their way,” explains Helle Pelant Lahrmann, SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre, Livestock Innovation.

Although tail docking can be a way of safeguarding the wellbeing of pigs, the aim of the guide is to advise on how their wellbeing can also be ensured with intact tails.

"We’re aware that in some cases tail docking can result in improved wellbeing for pigs as they are exposed to less tail biting by other pigs in the pen. But if there are no issues with tail biting among tail docked pigs, we should try to work with intact tails in some of the pens to build up experience”, says Christian Fink Hansen, Sector Director, SEGES Danish Pig Research Centre.

See how pig producer, Kristine Sonne, ensures the wellbeing of her non tail docked pigs through daily supervision:

Read also: Success with intact tails

Read also about other initiatives around animal welfare