AHDB Pork has published a guide to help producers provide the best environmental enrichment within a wide variety of housing and systems.
Its practical Guide to Environmental Enrichment for Pigs is now available in hard copy and online and is free to levy payers.
It provides information based on the knowledge and experience of farmers, as well as researchers and scientific literature on the different ways environmental enrichment can be provided for differing types of housing and pigs, for both indoor and outdoor producers.
The information is set out in sections by housing type and, in each, the types of enrichment that are most suited to each system are discussed, their key properties, how to present the enrichment, quantities, and practical considerations too, such as ease of installation, maintenance and costs.
What constitutes appropriate enrichment?
The legislation surrounding the provision of environmental enrichment does not stipulate what does and doesn’t constitute appropriate enrichment.
“What is most important is that it is provided in a sufficient quantity to enable proper investigation and manipulation activities, as well as being safe for both pigs and stockpersons,” AHDB Pork said.
It is currently working on finding a suitable method for determining whether or not enrichment in a pen is meeting the needs of the pigs – click here for more info. Research being conducted as part of FareWellDock, a European project, is also looking at what quantity of chewing and rooting material is sufficient to satisfy the pigs’ need to explore.
Red Tractor Farm Assurance standards stipulate that chains alone are not acceptable – they may only be used when in conjunction with other objects or material.