A total of 320 finishing pigs (72 to 90 kg) was used in four studies to assess the efficacy of various moving devices by evaluation of pig behavior and time to complete a standardized course. The handler was behind the pigs (n = 3) with the objective of moving the pigs forward. In the first study, pig reactions to an electric prod or paddle touching their ham, neck, rear hock or back, or on their left or right side were recorded. The percentage of pigs moving forward was greatest (P<0.05) when pigs were touched on their back. Future work standardized touching pigs on their back to get them to move forward. In the second study, paddles colored blue, red, or green were found equally effective (P>0.05) at moving pigs. Studies then standardized evaluations using blue devices. In the third study, the electric prod, paddle, and board were evaluated for time to complete the course. A handler using a board required less time (P<0.05) to move pigs compared with an electric prod or paddle. Pig vocalization was similar after being touched with either the paddle or electric prod, but these devices caused more pig vocalization than the board (P<0.05). In the fourth study, the board was compared with a flag. The board and flag were statistically equal in time required to move pigs through the course. In conclusion, the board was the most efficacious moving device among those evaluated.
- Moving Devices