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tail biting on pasture

leahg123leahg123 Junior Member
edited April 2015 in General Pig Health
We added a barrow to our three RW gilts (he was from the same litter but he is smaller- so they are all about 3.5-4 months old and were separated from each other for only 2 weeks or so).

We had them in a pen in the barn until we got the pasture set up for them, which was a couple of weeks. During that time, our biggest gilt developed a tail-biting tendency for this little barrow. We moved them to the pasture within 2 days of noticing this behavior. It also looks like she's gotten a hold of his ear and maybe his back leg- nothing serious but still upsetting to see because there is blood. It is only these two and the other pigs are not affected.

Since being on pasture didn't seem to alleviate things, we've added both a mineral block and a tire to their paddock- plus they get tons of awesome feed and treats. I am now feeding them from two big bowls to eliminate competition. They are on fresh grass. But the gilt and the barrow are still doing their dance and his tail is getting worse.

Should I remove him and let him heal by himself in the barn pen? Enlarge the paddock? Remove the gilt? Even if I remove him and he heals, will they just start doing it again if I reintroduce him? They are also biting each others legs and his ear is torn. I think he starts it, but she is bigger and is putting him in his place. So if I remove her, does that mean she needs to be culled? She's only 80ish lbs.I was really hoping to breed her until I noticed this behavior. If I remove him, will she start picking on someone else, or if she just reacting to his instigation??

Thanks for the help. This is our first round of pigs and it's very upsetting that we are having this problem :(

Comments

  • Stevie GStevie G Super Moderator
    edited April 2015
    leahg123 wrote:
    We added a barrow to our three RW gilts (he was from the same litter but he is smaller- so they are all about 3.5-4 months old and were separated from each other for only 2 weeks or so).

    We had them in a pen in the barn until we got the pasture set up for them, which was a couple of weeks. During that time, our biggest gilt developed a tail-biting tendency for this little barrow. We moved them to the pasture within 2 days of noticing this behavior. It also looks like she's gotten a hold of his ear and maybe his back leg- nothing serious but still upsetting to see because there is blood. It is only these two and the other pigs are not affected.

    Since being on pasture didn't seem to alleviate things, we've added both a mineral block and a tire to their paddock- plus they get tons of awesome feed and treats. I am now feeding them from two big bowls to eliminate competition. They are on fresh grass. But the gilt and the barrow are still doing their dance and his tail is getting worse.

    Should I remove him and let him heal by himself in the barn pen? Enlarge the paddock? Remove the gilt? Even if I remove him and he heals, will they just start doing it again if I reintroduce him? They are also biting each others legs and his ear is torn. I think he starts it, but she is bigger and is putting him in his place. So if I remove her, does that mean she needs to be culled? She's only 80ish lbs.I was really hoping to breed her until I noticed this behavior. If I remove him, will she start picking on someone else, or if she just reacting to his instigation??

    Thanks for the help. This is our first round of pigs and it's very upsetting that we are having this problem :(

    Remove him and treat with penicillin until he gets better.
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