Types of production
In Denmark, we normally divide pig production into four different types. The conventional or ”normal” pig production is the most widely used one. In addition, there are organic production, free-range and special pig production with different requirements for e.g. outdoor areas, feed and bedding in the pig houses.
The conventional or "normal" pig production is often production in pig houses. Either the pigs are born and bred in the same unit (integrated production) or the pigs are moved to other farms or units (multi-site production). Of course, the production complies with the law and the rules of the industry applicable to feeding etc. The majority of the production in Denmark is "conventional".
Organic pigs are produced according to official guidelines for organic production under the government-controlled Ø mark. At least 95 per cent of the feed must be organic and a part of it must be coarse fodder. If the pigs are treated with medicine, the period from when the pigs can be slaughtered is longer than the period prescribed by law. Organic suckling pigs must not be weaned off until after seven weeks and it is not permitted to perform tail-docking. Organic pigs must have access to free areas, e.g. in the form of outdoor pens. All suckling pigs must be born on free land. There must be straw or other bedding in the pig sheds and there must be solid floors where the pigs are resting.
At free-range production the sows are kept entirely or partially on free land. Often the sows are outside in huts and are also outside with the suckling pigs until they are weaned off. However, some producers choose to keep them inside during heat and gestation. For some of the special pigs – free-range pigs and organic pigs – there are special requirements as to how the pigs are to be kept outside.
In addition to organic and free-range pigs, special pigs are produced both for the home market and for export. In this case, the production must comply with special requirements for e.g. the meat quality (cross-breeds, cooling, maturity etc.), feed composition and/or animal welfare.