Manure on the body

Why is it measured?

Pigs are motivated to keep clean and the presence of manure on the body indicates their environment is inadequate, impinging on their ability to carry out normal maintenance behaviour. Given the choice pigs will lie in clean dry areas and will defecate/urinate away from their bedding. They will only lie in excreta if their environmental temperature has reached critical limits or there is insufficient space. Both these reasons indicate a significant welfare compromise. An outdoor pig soiled with mud is normal, particularly during the summer months when pigs wallow to protect their skin and keep cool. Therefore this measure focuses only on identifying soiling with manure.

In addition to highlighting inadequate environmental conditions, manure on the body can lead to an increase risk of skin irritation, ectoparasites (such as lice and mange) and disease such as mastitis. Manure on the body can also provide an attraction for flies which can transmit disease within / between buildings and across pig herds.

How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure

 Manure on the body (dry sows and finishing pigs)                                                                         Individual measure
 Observation: Stand near the animal and visually assess one side only. This can be done from outside the pen if visibility is adequate. 

0 Clean                =
1  Dirty                =
2 Very Dirty       =

<20% of the body is soiled;
≥20% and <50% of the body is soiled with fresh/old slurry/urine/faeces;
≥50% of the body is soiled with fresh/old slurry/urine/faeces.