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Ahead to B. General Recommendations

A. Controls by Code Provision

1. Newcomers to outdoor pig-keeping should obtain appropriate training from experienced outdoor pig stockmen and/or from approved agricultural trainers (paragraph 37).

2. Those responsible for the management of the unit should ensure that the animals are cared for by sufficient, well-motivated, properly trained stockmen (paragraph 38).

3. Before establishing a new unit, newcomers to outdoor pig-keeping should take impartial expert advice about site suitability. We understand that this advice exists within agricultural consultancies and the industry and we look to such organisations to make appropriate expertise easily available to those concerned at reasonable cost. Pigs should not be moved onto a site which is judged to be unsuitable (paragraph 43).

4. When planning to move pigs onto a site it is essential that full consideration is given to site selection. This should include ensuring that the site is free-draining, has suitable topsoil, is not susceptible to flooding, has adequate access and takes advantage of natural shelter. There should also be plans for movement to follow-on sites in future years (paragraph 44).

5. Each site should be individually assessed and steps taken to meet the following criteria:

6. Areas of high rainfall should be avoided, particularly where poor drainage is also a consideration. Sites exposed to high wind and where long periods of extreme cold, frost and snow might be expected are also unsuitable (paragraph 58).

7. During winter months, shelters should be well-bedded and draught-free. Sheltering the doorways by siting the huts with their backs to the prevailing wind, and perhaps by the use of plastic flaps over the doorways, is necessary to minimise the possibility of bedding becoming wet through seepage or driven rain or snow (paragraph 59).

8. During summer months, farrowing huts should be insulated and effectively ventilated and water must be easily accessible (paragraph 60).

9. Shelters should be of sufficient weight, or effectively secured to the ground, to prevent movement by wind or by sows (paragraph 61).

10. Wallows containing a suitable, muddy material should be provided, particularly for dry sows, throughout periods of hot weather (paragraph 62).

11. Those responsible for the keeping of pigs outdoors should familiarise themselves with the MAFF Publication Heat Stress In Pigs - Solving the Problem (paragraph 63).

12. The stocking density on an outdoor unit should be such that ground conditions are satisfactorily maintained and likely to provide the conditions set out in recommendation 8. On an ideal site it is likely that this will be achieved at a maximum stocking density of about 25 sows per hectare (10 sows per acre) across the site (paragraph 68).

13. Stockmen should carefully monitor ground conditions in the paddock and where these prove unsatisfactory an adjustment of stocking density, or other management changes, must be introduced (paragraph 69).

14. We endorse the provision in the Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994 requiring the stockman to inspect pigs thoroughly at least once a day to check they are in a state of well-being. This is a helpful legal minimum. However, we recommend the Welfare Code requires inspection of farrowing sows and piglets at least twice daily (paragraph 88).

15. Where sows at the time of farrowing are found to be in difficulty, immediate and effective action must be taken and, where necessary, veterinary advice should be obtained. This is already a requirement of the Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994 and could usefully be reflected in the Welfare Code which is often more accessible to farmers than the legislation (paragraph 89).

16. We recommend the provision of isolation and acclimatisation facilities for replacement breeding stock (paragraph 90).

17. We recommend that adequate facilities should be provided to enable pigs to be trained to electric fences and that such fences should be checked at least daily (paragraph 91).

18. Where weaner or finishing pigs are kept in outdoor systems, adequate provision should be made to protect pigs from extremes of weather (paragraph 92).

19. No pig should be weaned at less than three weeks of age unless "the welfare or health of the dam or piglets would otherwise be adversely affected" (paragraph 93).

20. We recommend that each herd should have a written health and welfare programme produced, where necessary, with veterinary advice setting out health and husbandry activities concerning the whole of the cycle of production. This should help to ensure that routine prophylactic measures are given at the correct time, at the correct dose and to the appropriate animals. This programme should be reviewed and updated annually (paragraph 104).

21. The health of a pig farmed outdoors should not be compromised and if signs of disease or injury are noticed, immediate effective treatment must be given (paragraph 105).

22. Handling facilities should be available which effectively enable the inspection and, where necessary, treatment of sows and boars (paragraph 107).

23. We encourage the use of individual housing systems for boars and supervised services. Attention should be given to avoid excessive mating activity between boars and sows (paragraph 109).

24. Appropriate treatment for lame animals must be given as soon as is practicable (paragraph 110).

25. Those responsible for the keeping of pigs outdoors should familiarise themselves with the MAFF booklet Lameness in Pigs (paragraph 111).

26. All pigs must be fed daily a wholesome, appropriate diet to maintain them in good health and to promote a positive state of well-being (paragraph 118).

27. The pig-keeper should ensure that food is properly stored to keep it in a good wholesome condition and in a location to ensure sufficient quantities to cater for emergencies (e.g. disruption of supply due to adverse weather) (paragraph 119).

28. Food should be distributed widely and evenly to avoid aggression between animals or an alternative method to ensure even consumption should be used (paragraph 120).

29. The feed intake should be adjusted to take account of the effect different weather conditions have on the body condition of the pigs in the group e.g. extra food should be provided in cold weather (paragraph 121).

30. An adequate water supply should be provided appropriate to the number of sows in the group and especially to farrowing sows. Good access to the water trough should be maintained (paragraph 129).

31. We strongly advise that mutilations should not be carried out routinely but only when it can be clearly demonstrated that the animals would otherwise suffer to a greater extent than as a consequence of the operation. We believe that steps should be taken to eliminate, or at least minimise, the pain caused by all mutilations. This point should be strongly made in the Welfare Code which should include reference to the appropriate legislation (paragraph 143).

32. If tooth-clipping and tail-docking are carried out at the same time, we recommend that separate equipment is used and is thoroughly disinfected between operations (paragraph 147).

33. Breeding companies, and those responsible for the selection of breeding stock to be kept on outdoor enterprises, must ensure that only those strains of pig with the genetic potential to thrive in the conditions provided are used (paragraph 150).

34. When choosing pigs attention should be paid to the need for good temperament and mothering ability. New entrants to the industry should seek independent advice to ensure the correct stock is selected (paragraph 151).

35. Where foxes are a problem effective control measures should be introduced (paragraph 154).