WEDA develops biting toy for pigs
WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp, a producer of pig house equipment, and Kassel University (Germany) have developed a new kind of biting toy which caters to the play instinct of piglets and fattening pigs.
The toy is developed as a type of rooting cone and is secured onto a plastic ground plate through floor brackets. It comes with an attached ball which is made with durable and food-safe polyurethane and mounted on a flexible metal spring. The ball serves as a biting piece for pigs.
The design of the toy allows the controlled mobility of the ball, thus enabling a more engaging biting experience for pigs. Animals would then be encouraged to stay within the centre of the house or the radius of the toy's position, and not stray into corners.
Tested in various pig houses, the animals' interaction with the toy has so far shown positive results as it offers an alternate and safer form of activity.
During a field research, animals in one test group were provided with the WEDA biting toy while the other comparison group were given a chain or ball for interaction. The animals in the former group were reported to interact with the biting toy more frequently than the second test group had with other objects. The study also revealed a lower rate of injuries as negative behavior patterns, like tail-biting, among pigs, declined. This makes the employment of the toy even more applicable, especially in German farms when tail docking will be prohibited nationwide in 2016.