Natural Behaviour Makes Moving Pigs Faster Easier

CANADA - A Saskatchewan based low stress pig handling trainer says by understanding of the natural instincts that drive behaviour swine handlers can make the job of moving pigs easier, faster and less stressful, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 18 February 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Low stress pig handling techniques involve the use of the animals' natural behaviours to get them to move.

Nancy Lidster, a low stress pig handling trainer with Whitefox, Saskatchewan based DNL Farms, says once stock people understand how animals behave the job of moving them becomes much easier.

Nancy Lidster-DNL Farms

Most of our instincts, if we don't understand the pig's responses we will tend to push too hard.

We tend to want to chase, we tend to if they resist to want to push harder which is exactly the opposite of what we need to do.

That's why it's so important to understand the pig behaviour so that instead of letting our instincts kick in and do things automatically without us even thinking about it we have to be able to make conscious choices and consciously understand what's going to happen and how they're going to respond and to make proper choices to get the responses that we want.

The main thing that we're looking at is animals' fear levels.

The things that we don't like them doing like bunching up and refusing to move or circling back on us are typically fear responses so if we can understand how to keep them calm and use our position and use our pressure in ways that make it easier for them to keep track of us and stay calm then we can get them to work more easily.

Part of the fear and defensive responses are also being able to keep track of us and also feel comfortable with where we're working and with what we're asking them to do.

Mr Lidster says, if we can get animals to move on their own they'll actually move themselves and that's what we're looking for.

She says, if pigs are moving easily, it makes the job more enjoyable, it saves time, it reduces injuries to both animals and handlers and results in higher quality end products.

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