20 February 1998

Sociable boars need attention

BOAR management still has a large impact on herd performance despite increased reliance on AI, yet many producers keep boars in isolation and neglect them.

So says ADAS pig specialist, Mike Brade, who explained that legally, boar pens must be 6m sq. "MAFF welfare codes recommend a minimum 7.5m sq or 10m sq if the boar pen is being used for serving sows."

Although service areas have benefits, serving in boar pens is common and acceptable, he told producers attending a MAFF/ ADAS Profit from Welfare roadshow at Stowmarket, Suffolk.

For best performance boars must be kept fit, ideally condition score 2.5 (CS3 on outdoor units) for serving. A typical daily feeds ia 2.5kg of a 14% crude protein, DE 13 ration.

"Boars are sociable animals and access to sows, even by walking the boars up a passage for 30min daily, is better than isolation," he said.

"Foster a good relationship with boars. If they mistrust the stockman, theyll be watching him rather than concentrating on the job in hand."

Boar performance is aided by routine foot care and non-slip flooring. &#42

Mike Brade: Dont neglect boars or keep them in isolation.