Enrichment materials for pigs

Based on welfare figures provided by Wageningen Livestock Research for existing pen enrichment materials for pigs, the government established standards for enrichment materials. The short chain was banned in 2007. Now, among other things, a hockey ball or hard plastic pipe is provided on a short chain.

Balls cause frustration

The balls that many pig farmers hang as a distraction in pens are not suitable. "Pigs try to bite the ball, but they never succeed. They get frustrated and quit playing," explains researcher Marc Bracke.

Just because we humans like a ball to play with doesn't mean that a pig can do something with it too.
Marc Bracke

Good: a long branched chain

A branched chain that extends to the floor offers the prospect of meeting the legal requirement that all pigs have permanent diversion material. Additional equipment with motion detectors can objectively verify the suitability of hanging materials. Perhaps this can also be used to monitor the health status, because sick pigs play less with distraction material.

RICHPIG model as a basis

Semantic modelling is a way of assigning welfare figures based on scientific knowledge. With the semantic RICHPIG model, which has been validated with an expert opinion study, the welfare figures for existing pen enrichment materials for pigs have been determined.