Should You Dock Pig Tails? How It Affects Growth Performance

Results indicate that tail docking did not affect daily gain, feed intake, gain to feed ratio. ( PORK )

This is part of a weekly review of Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project,  and includes a report by Dr. Yuzhi Li regarding the effects of tail docking in pigs. Click here to see previous editions of the science page.

    A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of tail docking on welfare and performance of growing-finishing pigs. Pigs, including 120 pigs that were tail-docked at birth and 120 pigs that remained with intact tails were used. Pigs were housed in 8 pens of 30 pigs in a confinement barn for 16 weeks, with 4 pens each housing pigs of both sexes with docked or intact tails.

    tail docking study
    Source: Dr. Yuzhi Li ; Produced by Sara Brown

      Results indicate that tail docking did not affect daily gain, feed intake, gain to feed ratio. During the study period, 5% of docked pigs were removed from their home pen due to tail damage, compared to 21% of intact pigs were removed for reasons associated with tail biting or tail damage. Consequently, 97% of docked pigs and 90% of intact pigs were sold for full value.

      This study suggests that tail docking did not affect growth performance of pigs or eliminate occurrence of tail biting, but it reduced the incidence of
      tail damage in pigs housed in a confinement system.

      For more details, take a look at the full results table.

       
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