Ed Pajor Purdue University

Resources Authored

PIG How-To's

How to Move and Handle Pigs

Publish Date: 04/17/2012

An important factor associated with animal welfare is the proper movement and handling of pigs. Pigs can be hard to move if frightened or not accustomed to being moved. Improper handling decreases animal welfare by causing stress and fear, may increase safety risks for both the pig and handler, and also results in a decrease in meat quality (i.e. bruising; PSE pork, a meat that is pale, soft, and exudative; or DFD pork, a meat that is dark firm and dry) that can cost the industry millions of dollars each year.. In short improving animal handling improves animal welfare, safety, meat quality, and may improve your bottom line.


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Resources Reviewed

Factsheets

Identification of the Sick or Compromised Pig

Publish Date: 10/23/2014

A compromised animal, in biological terms, refers to an animal which is unable to function optimally. Observing pigs daily, by walking the pens will contribute to early identification of compromised pigs (1,2). In order to identify sick pigs, it is important to know what a normal, healthy group of pigs should look like. This fact sheet provides illustrations and a system, to be used as a tool, for assessing nursery pigs. This tool systematically assesses the body, eyes/ears/nose, skin/hair, and temperament which can easily be remembered by the acronym B.E.S.T


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Factsheets

Management Strategies to Reduce Transport Losses in Market Weight Pigs

Publish Date: 04/05/2012

Transport losses in market-weight pigs (dead and non-ambulatory pigs) represent animal welfare, legal, and economic concerns [1]. First of all, improving the well-being of pigs during transport and reducing the incidence of dead and non-ambulatory pigs are animal welfare priorities [2]. Second, non-ambulatory livestock are the subject of increased rules and regulations. For example, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors and plant welfare auditors evaluate how non-ambulatory pigs are handled at the packing plant. Improper handling of non-ambulatory pigs at the plant can result in a USDA non-compliance report and/or a failed plant welfare audit [3-4]. Third, transport losses represent direct financial losses to producers and packers. These losses have been estimated to cost the U.S. swine industry approximately $50 to $100 million annually [5].


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Factsheets

Welfare Issues at Weaning

Publish Date: 04/05/2012

Defining what is meant by pig welfare can be challenging. Still, one knows adequate or inadequate welfare when it is observed. Sick or injured pigs clearly have poor welfare. Pigs in an inadequate environment are at risk to experience poor welfare. Weaning is one of the most traumatic events that piglets experience and includes numerous acute and chronic stressors including separation from their mother, changes in their nutritional supply and accommodation, mixing of unfamiliar pigs, and transportation [1-5].


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Factsheets

Natural Farrowing Behavior of the Sow and Piglets

Publish Date: 12/29/2010

To determine the best practices for providing good sow and litter welfare in the farrowing accommodation, a good starting point is to re-examine the behavioral patterns that have been documented around farrowing and during lactation, in a natural or semi-natural environment. There is a series of behaviors carried out, with sows and piglets undergoing various phases of isolation, community integration, and living. Jensen has proposed that maternal behavior can be divided into six distinct parts: (i) isolation and nest site seeking, (ii) nest building, (iii) farrowing, (iv) nest occupation, (v) social integration, and (vi) weaning [1].


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Factsheets

Hypothetical Welfare Assessments for the Sow and Her Litter

Publish Date: 01/03/2011

The assessment of welfare within farrowing systems presents a unique challenge for pork producers, veterinarians, and animal scientists. Welfare assessment within all other phases of swine production involves pigs at a single stage of their productive life. Within the farrowing environment, the sow and her piglets are at two very different stages of their life, and have different requirements in regards to their thermal, social, and physical environments [1]. A system that may be ideal for the welfare needs and requirements of the sow may be far from optimal for her piglets, and vice versa. In order for objective and science-based assessments to be conducted on swine farms, we must have an appreciation of the sows and her piglets welfare during farrowing and lactation.


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