Ethology Research Group
The overall goal of the ethology group is to find solutions to production challenges related to pig behaviour and welfare. Many of these issues are linked to implementation of the Code of Practice for Care and Handling of pigs. The Code recommends group housing of gestating sows and requires that all pigs receive ‘multiple forms of enrichment’ throughout the production cycle. The ethology group has completed research on these issues and collaborated in technology transfer to facilitate the transition to group housing and implementation of effective enrichment. Sow health management is another important area of research, with research completed on risk factors for sow lameness and shoulder lesions, and the influence of temperament and social status on sow welfare and productivity. Other areas of study include research on pain mitigation at castration and tail docking, and effective ways of implementing these practices on-farm and alternative systems in farrowing and nursery to reduce pre-weaning mortality and promote piglet health.