Tillmanns, M., Scheepens, K., Stolte, M. et al. 2022. Implementation of a pig toilet in a nursery pen with a straw-littered lying area. Animals 12(1), 113.
In this study, a pig toilet was installed on an organic pig farm, which enabled pigs to use a lying area littered with straw and keep it clean. The pig toilet was separated into a defaecation area and a urination area and nursery pigs were trained to use the urination area by means of a rewarding system. A total of 24 piglets were weaned at 6–7 weeks of age and housed in the experimental system for four-week periods. Per trial, a group of four pigs was formed, and videos were recorded on two days per week (08:00 to 18:00). Direct observation was carried out in the first and last week of each trial. In total, 1500 eliminations were video-analysed. An individual pig had an average of 7.1 ± 1.4 defaecations and 4.8 ± 0.8 urinations per day. In total, 96.4% of all urinations and 97.4% of all defaecations were performed in the pig toilet. However, most urinations took place in the defaecation area as well (90.4%). Even if the training to spatially separate defecation and urination behaviour was not successful, we showed that a pig toilet offers the possibility to create littered lying areas, possibly increasing animal welfare.