Pigs — Activities

Activities

Approved Activities Category
Non-Invasive measurement of:
1. Body weight 2
2. Body condition

• Visual assessment

• Condition scoring

.

2

2

3. Ultra sound  2
4. Growth  2
5. Body proportion  2
6. Pulse or bloodflow  2
7. Respiration  2
8. Skin temperature (non-invasive)  2

 

In order to weigh pigs they will need to be walked onto scales. Piglets may be weighed using a supportive sling or container, depending on their size and age. Routine weighing is generally done to:

    • Monitor growth rates
    • Match nutrition required with nutrition supplied
    • Provide data for analysis and planning.

Piglets can be held to allow measurements to be taken. This needs to be done quickly, as generally the piglets will squeal loudly, causing distress to the sow.

Larger animals can be held against a wall or corner for short periods of time. The use of measuring sticks and digital photography can increase the ease of measuring and recording.

Piglet being placed in a bucket

Piglet weighing needs to be done quickly as they generally squeal loudly, causing distress to the sow.

Approved Activities Category
Collection of samples from livestock:
1. Wool/hair  2
2. Milk  2
3. Faeces & urine (non-invasive)  2
4. Faeces (invasive)  3
5. Measurement of body temperature (invasive)  3

 

As with the taking of measurements, piglets can be held and larger pigs can be held against a wall or in a corner, to collect samples.

When collecting faeces and urine samples, gloves should be worn and hands washed after completion of the activity.

*The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act describes the legal ages for the following pig husbandry practices:

    • Castration – less than six months of age

If any of these husbandry practices need to be done to pigs older than the prescribed ages, the operation must be carried out by a veterinarian using pain relief and haemorrhage control.

Pigs must be suitably identified applicable to the production system and current regulations.

 

*All citizens in NSW must comply with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA). Castration can only be carried out after two months of age if performed by a veterinarian and the animal is appropriately anaesthetized.

 

Approved Activities Category
Standard husbandry activities:
   Tattoo application 3
   Tail docking piglets 4
   Tooth trimming 4
   Detusking boars 4

 

All pigs 25 kg and over must be tattooed with your registered swine brand number issued by the local Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA). Pigs should be branded on one or both shoulders. In NSW the crown brand may be applied by the LHPA by arrangement for people who don’t regularly trade pigs and do not have their own swine brand number.

It is a requirement that all pigs over 25 kg must be tattooed. Although this should be done on the shoulder, many piglets are also tattooed on their ears when young.

It is a requirement that all pigs over 25 kg must be tattooed. Although this should be done on the shoulder, many piglets are also tattooed on their ears when young.

PigPass

Do I have to tattoo or tag my pigs?

Pigs: branding and PigPass NVD

In most cases male pigs are marketed before they reach the age that management would require castration.

Tail docking is done to reduce tail biting that may occur when pigs are bored. Piglets raised in extensive conditions will not require tail docking.

Piglets raised in extensive conditions will not require tail docking.

Piglets raised in extensive conditions will not require tail docking.

When required, tails are docked leaving a stump of two to three centimetres in length. This activity should be carried out within the first week, preferably when the piglets are one day old.

Teeth trimming is done to reduce the chance of piglets injuring the sow or each other. It is most commonly carried out in intensive piggeries and is not generally required when piglets are raised under more extensive conditions.

Teeth trimming is most commonly carried out in intensive piggeries and is not generally required when piglets are raised under more extensive conditions.

Teeth trimming is most commonly carried out in intensive piggeries and is not generally required when piglets are raised under more extensive conditions.

If it is to be done, it should be carried out within the first week, preferably when the piglets are one day old. Holding the piglet behind the neck will cause it to automatically open its mouth. Care needs to be taken not to cut the gum as this can cause abscessation.

 

Nose ringing

Nose ringing should be avoided. However, this procedure may need to be performed as a last resort, to prevent adverse effects to the environment, if pigs are kept on pasture. Nose rings should be placed through the cartilage of the top of the snout or the tissues separating the nostrils.

Provision of adequate substrate or pasture for chewing can provide for exploratory or foraging behaviour and deter pigs from rooting up ground excessively.

 

Identification

Where it is necessary to mark pigs for permanent identification, the ear may be tattooed, tagged, punched, or the body may be tattooed or a micro-chip implanted.

 

Tusk trimming

Tusk trimming of boars is necessary where injury to humans or animals is likely to occur. Tusk trimming should be conducted using embryotomy wire. The boar should be appropriately restrained and, if necessary, sedated for restraint. Analgesia is not required as the tusk lacks sensory nerves. Tusks should be severed cleanly above the level of the gums without causing damage to other tissues.

Assistance from a veterinarian is advisable unless the operator is very experienced in tusk trimming.

 

The use of farrowing crates in piggeries is the traditional method of keeping the sow from laying on or trampling her piglets. As a result of the revision of the Model Code of practice for the welfare of animals: Pigs, this method is now not considered acceptable for schools. Any school that wishes to use farrowing crates must first seek written approval from SACEC.

This approval is sought by completion of Application form 5, Application for SACEC approval to house production animals intensively.

Schools are encouraged to develop management systems for farrowing that provide the following:

    • Space for the sow to move around
    • Nesting material for the sow and piglets
    • Safe (creep) area for the piglets, reducing the chance of injury or death due to squashing.
Approved Activities Category
Slaughter/euthanasia of stock  5

 

Where an animal has become so sick, diseased or injured that recovery is unlikely or undesirable on humane grounds, euthanasia must be arranged with a local veterinarian.

Students are permitted to watch a post-mortem of an animal provided there is no disease risk posed.

 

Disposal

Pigs may be sold privately, at auction or consigned to an abattoir.

Carcases must be disposed of in accordance with local council regulations.

It is illegal to kill any animal and sell the meat for human consumption unless it has been slaughtered and prepared in a licenced processing facility.

Teachers who use animals must keep clear and accurate records of:

    • The number of pigs owned or kept at the school
    • Identification of individual animals (ear tag number or name)
    • The dates and sources of acquisition of each pig
    • Disposal details and dates for each animal
    • Diet details for pigs kept in intensive conditions with no access to foraging
    • Complete breeding records
    • The dates and types of husbandry practices carried out
    • The names, dosage and dates of any chemicals administered
    • Any accident, illness or injury involving school animals and the veterinary treatment provided (if required).
    • Any significant occurrences that adversely affect the welfare of school animals, such as vandalism, dog attack, outbreak of disease etc.

The type and format of the records maintained will vary from school to school and be dependent on the number of animals kept, number of staff involved in maintaining the records and the layout and location of the school farm.

The minimum requirement is a daily diary that is accessible to all staff that are involved in the care and use of the animals.

Where there are several staff members involved in the care of animals it is essential that there is a mechanism for each staff member to document notes about the general health status of school animals and that these notes are available to all other staff members who may be involved in animal care.