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Development & implementation of tail biting risk assessment tool on commercial pig farms

Project summary:

This project has a number of components regarding assessment & management of risk factors for tail biting in Irish pig production. It aims to identify strategies which can reduce the risk of tail biting in commercial units using by adapting a tail-biting intervention programme (SchwIP) previously developed in Germany. To identify strategies that can reduce the risk of tail biting, and hence need to dock, on Irish farms we will develop and validate a tail biting intervention programme. The programme will use information on farm infrastructure & management practices, as well as animal based measurements, to help to identify risk factors on individual farms, & inform guidelines for best-practice when rearing undocked pigs.


  • To determine factors affecting tail biting risk on Irish pig farms
  • To implement a tail biting control protocol (TBCP) on Irish farms
  • To refine the TBCP based upon analysis of actual tail damage
  • To identify associations between risk factors for animal Management, biosecurity, poor performance & tail biting
  • To improve the ability of Irish producers to comply with EU legislation & reduce the need for docking of pigs’ tails


Keelin O’Driscoll

Roberta Maria D’Alessio


PigNoDock Research Update 2020