Multiple Options Available to Enrich Pigs' Living Space

CANADA - A Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre says pork producers have a wide range of available options for meeting requirements under Canada's Pig Code of Practice calling for enrichment of the living space, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 May 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of Canada's revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs pork producers are required to provide multiple forms of enrichment to the living space of the animals regardless of their stage of growth.

Dr Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says at first that might sound challenging but the forms of enrichment are very diverse and a lot of those are already being provided by producers.

Dr Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre

In the code it outlines a variety of categories but there's overlap among these categories.

One would be social, one would be nutritional, sensory or occupational enrichments.

Social would be just the fact that pigs are able to see and interact with other pigs.

Most pigs in our barns certainly have the ability to interact.

Even those in stalls are side to side contact so that would be considered a form of social enrichment.

Nutritional enrichment, so any variety of feeds that you can be providing other than just their standard feed.

Sensory enrichment could be turning on a radio in the barn or, as you've seen with dairy cows, the use of rotating brushes.

Occupational could be providing objects in pens.

Most people are thinking of objects that are provided in the pens but there's a lot of other different options.

Even walking the pens can be considered a form of enrichment because you're providing pigs with additional stimulation.

Dr Brown is confident, once people get the hang of this and realize the benefits of enrichment, you'll see a lot of innovation out there.

She encourages producers who have implemented enrichment to provide their input.

She can be contacted by emailing [email protected]

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