The current conditions in which weaned pigs are kept are the most important in relation to the development of tail biting behaviour. Evidence for associations between management and housing during suckling and tail biting behaviour is scarce and contradictory (see ‘Show more’).
EURCAW-Pigs gives a short overview of the current knowledge on potential early life risk factors and their impact on tail biting behaviour in later life in the short review “Management of unweaned piglets”.
Tail biting is a multifactorial problem and different aspects can contribute to the expression of tail biting. The suckling period is a very sensitive phase in piglet production. Piglets, especially from large litters, are highly challenged in early life. Risk factors such as undernutrition, social stress due to competition, and crossfostering are suggested to increase tail biting behaviour in later life. These factors mostly relate to hyper-prolific sows with large litter sizes.
Further research is needed to investigate possible effects of thermal comfort, air quality, health status, acute stress and the housing environment to prevent the expression of tail biting in later life.
Source photo: ©AU, Cecilie Kobek-Kjeldager