Pigs: Lameness (PB1148)



The careful management of young gilts and boars as they are introduced into the herd can help reduce problems and hence early culling. Gilts and boars should be housed in warm draught-free pens with sufficient space and clean, dry bedding. Exercise areas will help limb development. Floor surfaces should provide adequate grip, should be sound and, if possible, without steps.

After purchase, boars should be housed individually in a suitable pen. Gilts should be housed within sight and smell of a boar and be provided with plenty of space as there will be a lot of activity as they come into oestrus. Infectious arthritis (mycoplasma) is common at this stage and early treatment is essential to prevent chronic joint problems. Veterinary advice should be sought.


The sensible matching of boar to sows and constant supervision are important in reducing the risk of injury to the animals at this time where activity and physical contact is greatly increased.

Large boars should never be used on small sows or gilts. A young boar should only be used on gilts or young sows which should never be allowed to bully him.


In group housing systems, lameness due to aggression between pigs is difficult to eliminate. The mixing of pigs should be minimised but, where this is carried out, allowing plenty of space and adding bedding as a distraction will help reduce the problem.

Aggression is often associated with feeding and the system must be appropriately designed and properly maintained to avoid this problem.

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