Caretaker Skills And Management Required For Swine Behavior Management And Wellbeing

Caretakers manage the stress imposed on pigs used for farming purposes. Stress may be part of production and cannot always be avoided for example, pigs must be transported at least once in their lifetime. Caretakers are cognizant of stress effects on performance and welfare as evidenced by disease, loss of reproduction, or low weight gain.[5] By developing management strategies designed to reduce the cost of stress, performance and, ultimately, welfare can improve. The most critical area that impacts swine welfare on farms is the careful selection, training, and skills of the caretaker. An example of the importance of caretaker skills can be seen at the time of handling. Caretakers need to know how pigs will react to human behavior to effectively move them in the desired direction and at times, to restrain them. Pigs may respond to tactile, visual, olfactory, gustatory, and auditory stimuli from their human handlers1-6-1 and may not always understand caretaker intention. Swine that are fearful may react in a negative manner, with obvious behavioral indicators seen by the pig stopping, freezing, backing off, running away, or vocalizing.[7,8] Caretakers' behavior is strongly influenced by the attitudes they hold about the pig and these attitudes may affect job-related characteristics such as work ethic, attention to detail, and motivation to learn new skills.[7]

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