Studying boar behaviour

Picture2Fattening boars leads to better yields for pig farmers. The other side of the coin is that boars’ more active behaviour can create challenges. Researcher Carola van der Peet-Schwering of Wageningen University and Research Centre has been studying boar behaviour for a number of years now. She examines influencing factors and which measures can be introduced to prevent behavioural aberrations.

According to Van der Peet-Schwering pig farmers do not all experience boar behaviour the same way. “Some think the boars’ behaviour is aggressive. Others term this behaviour ‘nervous’. Research has also shown that there is a difference between the pig farmers’ perceptions and the boars’ actual behaviour.” According to the researcher, some pig farmers can relatively easily transfer to fattening boars. Others will definitely face challenges. For example, because their existing feeding system is less suitable.

Increasing knowledge

“Boars demonstrate mounting behaviour from an early age,” says Van der Peet-Schwering. “You can compare it to the behaviour of boisterous boys. They also play and seek to assert their position in the group.”The researcher recently conducted research into factors that could influence boars’ mounting behaviour and could reduce restlessness in the sheds. She examined the effect lighting has, that of the total shed surface area, groups sizes and the installation of a hiding wall. “Boar behaviour is not easy to comprehend, but every study adds a little more knowledge and slowly, but surely we are unravelling the risk and success factors for fattening boars.”