Entire male pigs in farrow-to-finish pens–Effects on animal welfare

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Bente Fredriksen, Bjørn Magne Lium, Cathrine Hexeberg Marka, Birgitte Mosveen, Ola Nafstad
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
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Aggressive and sexual behaviour can hamper animal welfare in entire male pig production. The aim of the present study was to investigate if rearing entire male pigs in sibling groups (in farrow-to-finish pens) could reduce aggressive and sexual behaviour and thereby improve animal welfare in entire male pig production. Frequencies of aggressive and sexual behaviour among finishing pigs were recorded in three different groups in one herd; FTF-group (entires + gilts, siblings), mix-group (entires + gilts, mixed) and castrate-group (castrates + gilts, siblings). Frequencies of skin wounds were recorded in this herd and in an additional herd (only FTF-group and mix-group) shortly before the animals were sent to slaughter. Higher skin lesion scores in the entire male pig groups were in accordance with the behaviour data. Rearing entire male pigs in sibling groups reduces aggressive behaviour, though the frequency of the aggressive behaviour bouts was still higher than it was in the castrate-group. The frequency of skin wounds in the FTF-group was reduced to similar levels as in the castrate-group. The findings suggest that rearing entire males in sibling groups may be an appropriate management strategy for improving animal welfare in entire male pig production.


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