Tail Posture as an Indicator of Tail Biting in Undocked Finishing Pigs
Simple SummaryTail biting is a large welfare problem in modern pig production, causing pain and reduced health and production. The identification of tail biting is important for minimising the risk of the escalation of the behaviour and its consequences. Tail posture (i.e., tail hanging or curled) has been suggested to depend on the presence of tail wounds and, therefore, has been suggested as an indicator of tail biting. This study investigated the relationship between tail position and tail damages at feeding, since that could be a feasible time for producers to detect tail posture. The experiment showed that 94% of the pigs had curly tails and that pigs with wounds were more likely to have hanging tails than pigs with nondamaged tails. By observing the tail position at feeding, we were able to identify pigs with tail wounds in 68% of cases simply by scoring pigs with hanging tails. To conclude, the scoring of pigs with hanging tails at feeding was found to be a useful tool for identifying tail damages, which may otherwise be difficult to detect by the caretaker.
AbstractTail posture (i.e., hanging or curled) has been suggested to be an indicator of tail biting, and hanging tails predisposed to damage. The aim of this study was to investigate if tail posture was feasible as a tail damage indicator in a commercial setting. The study was carried out on one batch of 459 undocked finishing pigs (30–120 kg in weight). Weekly scoring of tail posture was combined with the scoring of tail lesions. Tail posture was observed at feeding to facilitate the usage of the method in commercial settings. A curly tail was observed in 94% of the observations. Pigs with tails scored with “wound” were 4.15 (p < 0.0001) times more likely to have hanging tails, and pigs scored with “inflamed wounds” were 14.24 (p < 0.0001) times more likely to have hanging tails, compared to pigs with nondamaged tails. Tail posture correctly classified tails with “wound” or “inflamed wound” 67.5% of the time, with 55.2% sensitivity and 79.7% specificity, respectively. The method of observing the tail position at feeding seems useful as a complement to normal inspection for detecting tail biting before tail wounds are visible to the caretaker. View Full-Text
- Supplementary File 1:
ZIP-Document (ZIP, 207 KB)
Share & Cite This Article
Wallgren, T.; Larsen, A.; Gunnarsson, S. Tail Posture as an Indicator of Tail Biting in Undocked Finishing Pigs. Animals 2019, 9, 18.
Wallgren T, Larsen A, Gunnarsson S. Tail Posture as an Indicator of Tail Biting in Undocked Finishing Pigs. Animals. 2019; 9(1):18.Chicago/Turabian Style
Wallgren, Torun; Larsen, Anne; Gunnarsson, Stefan. 2019. "Tail Posture as an Indicator of Tail Biting in Undocked Finishing Pigs." Animals 9, no. 1: 18.
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.