Prof. M. Ziron, M. Schauten and B. Engemann, Vocational College Southern-Westphalia
The latest innovation from summer 2016 is the EASYFIX Luna 117 for piglets and pigs up to approximately 40 kg. The floor toy is made of natural rubber and has 12 spikes. Due to its shape, it has an ingenious combination of mobility and rollability. It always remains in reach for the pigs and also cannot get stuck in a corner. Furthermore, the surface hardly gets dirty.
EASYFIX LUNA 117 tested at the Vocational College Soest
In the course of a project thesis at the vocational college Soest, the Luna 117 was tested at two fattening farms with regards to acceptable behaviour. For this purpose, one bay at each farm was monitored with a camera and the main activity period of the pigs was assessed. The results show, that the Luna 117 is accepted exceptionally well by the animals.
Fattening stable with 1300 fattening spots, areas with 8 bays each and 17 animals per bay, once every 14 days new animals are stabled in an area.
At the first farm, the floor toy was offered in a bay with 14 fattening pigs. From the beginning, the Luna 117 was used extensively by the animals. Up to four animals at once could be observed “playing” with the floor toy. When adding up the number of animal contacts, the Luna 117 has been poked, rolled, nibbled on and played with by the pigs a total of 927 times during the activity period.
The attractiveness of the Luna 117 can also be measured when looking at the overall usage by the animals within the monitored period in figure 2. 16 % of the time, no animal was using the floor toy; meaning that more than 80 % of the time the animals were using the Luna 117. Not only individual animals could be monitored, but quite often a number of animals at once.
Nutzungshaufigkeit: Frequency of use
Farm: 2000 fattening spots, area with 500 animals is fully occupied
Bay size: Pen 1: 33 animals (5 x 5 m)
Liquid feeding TFV 1: 3 (middle-length trough)
In this case, the Luna 117 was added to a fattening bay with 33 fattening animals, in addition to an occupation toy at a chain (organic nibbling sun). At this farm, the activity phase of the pigs (12:00 to 18:45) was also monitored via video. Hereby, it was registered how often and for how long one or more animals were occupying themselves with both toys. The toys had been in the bay for several days before the monitoring commenced. The floor toy was used far more than the occupation toy at the chain. It could also be observed far more often how several pigs were occupying themselves with the Luna 117 (Figure 3).The difference in usage frequency of the two objects also shows in the proportional usage time. Thus, the Luna 117 was used five times as long as the organic nibbling sun during the observation period.
Due to the combination of mobility and rollability, the Luna 117 remains interesting to the pigs for a long time and does not get as dirty as a ball because of its smaller surface. Even young animals can manage to roll the floor toy through the pen and bite on it. The movement motivates other pigs to join in on the playtime. The Luna 117 is extremely useable as a permanent means of occupation for piglets. With fattening pigs >40 kg the Luna 117 is subject to a lot of biting and is worn down quickly (see pictures above). In order to get some diversion, the floor toy is also a good additional means of occupation for nervous fattening groups <40 kg.