- Pigs should be handled quietly to avoid stress.
- Electric prodders, plastic pipes and dogs must not be used on pigs.
- Use backing boards to move pigs.
- Don’t lift pigs by their ears or legs, unless they are fully supported.
- Small pigs can be held by hand or when bigger, squeezed up behind doors or gates.
- Mature pigs are best handled in a crate.
- Pigs can also be held by a noose over the upper jaw. Pigs hate this so it’s a good idea to wear ear protection to dampen noise.
- This may not be necessary if pigs grow quickly and are slaughtered before boar problems develop (fighting, meat taint).
- Where needed, a skilled operator should do it, no later than 7 days of age.
- Castration of pigs over 7 days old should only be carried out by a vet.
- These can be trimmed, especially on boars that are potentially aggressive.
- Pigs attack by both biting and swiping upwards using their protruding tusks.
- Get a skilled person to do the job as correct restraining the animal is critical.
- The tusks don't have much nerve or blood supply so they shouldn't bleed when cut.
- If not done properly, the trimmed tusk can still be very sharp and dangerous.
- This will stop the pig rooting up pastures when grazing.
- The nose is a very sensitive area and the operation causes pain which the pig will remember and associate with you.
- It must be done properly in the cartilage on the top of the snout or in the tissue separating the two nostrils.
- Get veterinary help to avoid stress and personal injury.
Clipping piglet’s needle teeth
- These small sharp canine teeth can cut the sow’s teats and damage litter mates.
- If performed, teeth clipping of piglets must be carried out before 24 hours old and after 6-8 hours to allow prior colostrum absorbtion.
- No more than one third of the tooth should be removed.
- Use sharp clippers and avoid shattering the tooth or damaging the gums or mouth.
- Seek professional assistance to avoid stressing the young piglets, and make sure the sow is restrained when doing it or she will attack you when the piglets squeal.
- This should be a last resort if the causes of tail biting can’t be found.
- A skilled operator should remove a third to a half of the tail.
- Seek veterinary help as bleeding and infection can occur.
- If performed, it must be carried out before 24 hours old and after 6-8 hours to allow prior colostrum absorbtion.
- Ear notching should be done before 3 days of age and preferably within 6 hours of birth. Disinfect equipment during use.