‘Pigcams’ to help identify causes of mortality

Cameras have been installed to help identify the causes of pre-weaning mortality on an outdoor unit in East Anglia, as part of a BPEX field trial.

Day and night, the “pigcams” will identify predators entering the pens during periods when staff are not present. There are four cameras in one field, each mounted at 3m high and covering a 25m distance.

BPEX’s Samantha Bowsher, says: “We know that having a ‘fox problem’ can increase mortality by anything between 2% and 10% in a batch, but we have never done any trials to assess the true cause.

“The cameras will allow us to accurately record the number of visits by predators, what type of predators they are, how many piglets are taken and the sows’ behaviour and reactions.

“By making this information available to the industry, it will help producers develop effective ways of reducing the problem,” she adds.

As there is no power in the paddocks, the cameras transmit the footage back to the recorder, housed 400m away, where recorded footage is stored ready for collection.

The recorder shows when each camera was filming and when it switched off, and the producer can select specific time periods to view.

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