Consortial project to prevent tail docking in pigs
This German consortial project aims to give farmers recommendations for farm specific optimizations that allow them to keep pigs with intact tails, i.e. to cease tail docking. To this end, an innovative new approach will be applied: initially, pen are optimized extensively allowing pigs’ tails to be left intact. After successful validation of these extensively optimized pens, the number of optimization measures will be gradually reduced. By the end of the project, descriptions of different combinations of optimization measures will be available. These descriptions are examples for combinations of optimization measures that are needed when keeping pigs with intact tails ("optimum to necessity"). Further, the costs of the applied optimization measures and the amount of labor required to keep pigs with intact tails will be recorded throughout the project. This information will additionally help farmers in deciding how they can optimize the housing and management of their pigs. To support farmers in detecting early warning signs of tail biting outbreaks, several innovative early detection methods will be developed and evaluated.
The project is coordinated by the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut and conducted over a three year period together with Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Bildungs- und Wissenszentrum Boxberg (LSZ), the Chambers of Agriculture of Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein as well as the Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, University of Kiel.
The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut will focus on the development and evaluation of early detection methods of tail biting. Experiments will be carried out at the research facilities of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein. All experiments will be conducted with undocked pigs.