Humanising gilts and young boars

Photo: Courtesy Mr & Mrs S Edmond – Poppyfields Fine Produce

Studies and investigations conducted by pig geneticists and leading experts in the field emphasise the importance of having easily manageable pigs, whether they are intended for meat production or breeding purposes. These studies delve into strategies that can be employed to acclimate young gilts and boars to human interaction, ultimately making them more docile and easier to handle. By implementing the recommendations put forth by these experts, pig handlers can greatly enhance their experience and ensure a smoother and more efficient pig-rearing process.

  • Make feeding and humanising a separate activity; ensure the gilts have been fed before humanising or they may associate you with food only.
  • Ensure you have time allocated for this important job and do not rush it as negative or poor handling can be detrimental to the process.
  • Crouch down as the gilts will come towards you more quickly than if you stand.
Photo: Courtesy Eilidh Verstage
  • Allow the gilts come to you and smell you in a calm, unhurried manner.
  • Reach out and gently touch the gilts as they come near you (they may move away initially).
  • Repeat the process until they are content for you to rest your hand them (this may take a few sessions). Then pat, stroke and rub gilts to reward them.
  • Make sure the handling is of the same quality every day as inconsistent handling can make gilts wary.
  • The same outline of work applies to boars as it does to gilts however you will probably need to be more patient with boars and aware that they are potentially more unpredictable than gilts

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