Penile injuries in wild and domestic pigs

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Abstract

In boars, sexually motivated mounting can not only cause problems such as lameness, but penile injuries are also reported. The relevance of penis biting in boars is discussed controversially, but reliable data is missing. In the present study, boars (n = 435) and barrows (n = 85) from experimental farms were therefore evaluated for scars, fresh wounds and severe injuries of the penis. Similarly, 321 boars from 11 farms specializing in pork production with boars, and 15 sexually mature wild boars from the hunting season of 2015/16 were included in the study. In domestic boars, a high incidence of penile injuries was obvious (76.6%–87.0% of animals with scars and/or wounds at experimental farms, 64.0%–94.9% at commercial farms). The number of boars with severe injuries was in a similar range in both groups (7.3% vs. 9.3%). At commercial farms, the number of scars but not that of fresh wounds increased per animal with age by 0.3 per week. Moreover, raising boars in mixed groups led to about a 1.5 times higher number of scars than in single-sex groups. In wild boars, a considerable proportion of animals (40%) revealed penile injuries, which were even severe in three animals. We therefore conclude that penis biting is a highly relevant and severe welfare problem in the male pig population, but this phenomenon is not limited to intensive production systems.

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Weiler, U., Isernhagen, M., Stefanski, V., Ritzmann, M., Kress, K., Hein, C., & Zöls, S. (2016). Penile injuries in wild and domestic pigs. Animals, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6040025

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