4 IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR OPTIMAL WELFARE IN PIG PRODUCTION
Updated: May 2
Welfare in pig production is of the utmost importance at Taaibosch Piggery. The following 4 factors need to be assessed and implemented with great care to ensure the optimal welfare of pigs:
The need for a suitable diet. We ensure excellent feed quality and formulate recipes for each age and phase of the production cycle to provide optimal nutrition. (Read more about nutrition for pigs and the role that automatic sow feeders and water play.)
The need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, and be housed with, or apart from other animals - as the need requires. We constantly keep the social hierarchy and social needs of our pigs in mind when designing our pens.
The need for an optimal environment free of distress. We design housing and each pen to ensure a comfortable and optimal environment that supports a pig’s need for separate spaces to sleep, socialize, eat, and defecate.
The need to be protected from suffering, pain, injury, or disease. We take the utmost care in our health plans for our pigs. Biosecurity is strictly followed to ensure disease spread is limited or eliminated. We have an intensive health plan and continuous vet visits as well as providing training to managers and supporting staff to ensure quality treatment of any animal that is sick or gets injured.
Our Health Plan for Optimal Welfare in Pig Production
Our pigs’ health is of utmost importance to us. We have a comprehensive health plan formulated by our vets, which covers the following aspects:
We follow a 'prevention is better than cure' principle and therefore vaccinate all our pigs for common diseases.
Staff are trained to accurately assess the health of the pigs under their care and administer prescribed medicine correctly when necessary.
We follow a strict treatment protocol which includes keeping accurate records per individual pig. This means that we can access the records of any pig to see their exact treatment or vaccination history.
We have hospital pens in order to separate the sick pigs from the healthy herd. This aids in individual care and preventing the spread of diseases, or preventing a weak pig from getting hurt by other pigs.
We have regular visits by our vet to evaluate overall herd health as well as to adjust any protocols if necessary.
Although we have a very low mortality rate, in the case of a death, a full postmortem is done to confirm the reason for death. This information enables us to improve our care and gives us information to ensure we take additional steps to protect the rest of the herd when applicable.
Pigs are observed daily by multiple individuals so that any issues are noted promptly. Our managers and workers are so in tune with their pigs that they immediately notice when something is "off" when entering a pen.
Things such as listening to the sounds a pig makes, or noticing a difference in movement or behaviour, etc, are all indicators of possible illness. Swift action is taken if anything is noted to ensure the best possible health outcomes.