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Commercial enrichment devices for curious pigs

EASYFIX commercially produces pig enrichment toys and their range has fast become one of the leading pig enrichment device ranges in the market.

by 5m Editor
6 January 2020, at 4:41pm

For the last number of years, European Union legislation has stated that pigs must have permanent access to a sufficient quantity of materials in order to encourage proper investigation and manipulation activities. Put simply, the EU expects that pigs be provided with opportunities and devices that can help improve their living conditions. In response to this, several devices emerged; some were commercially produced while others were simply improvised. EASYFIX was one of those companies who decided to commercially produce pig enrichment toys and their range has fast become one of the leading pig enrichment device ranges in the market.

EASYFIX is an Irish based company which has been in operation for over twenty five years at this point. It made its name by providing top quality slat rubber for slatted cattle sheds before diversifying into rubber matting, flexible cow cubicles and other comfort solutions. The main objective for all EASYFIX products is to enhance the animal’s environment, so it was a natural progression for the company to commence the production of both ground-dwelling and air-borne pig enrichment devices.

Design Innovation

As you know, in the wild pigs typically spend their time rooting, biting, chewing, foraging and exploring. That’s why EASYFIX set about designing devices that mimicked as many of those activities as possible. The devices consists of a rubber ‘ball’ at their core with up to twelve rubber legs sprouting out from the centre to deliver an overall circular shape. The circular shape of the toys means that they can roll along the ground, helping to create a sense of foraging and exploration for the pigs. The rubber legs intrigue the pigs and encourage them to interact with the devices and ultimately bite and chew the legs, with the number of legs on each device allowing up to six pigs at once to play with the toys.

Pigs grow at a fast pace and with that so does their strength. That’s why EASYFIX developed four different sized, and strength, toys:

  • Luna 50 – 0-4 week Piglets
  • Luna 86 – 4-7 week 1st stage Weaners
  • Luna 117 – 7-12 week 2nd stage Weaners
  • Luna 142 – 12-26 week Finishers/Sows

Each toy is produced with food grade rubber and is fully REACH compliant.

© EASYFIX

EASYFIX also offer a hanging pig toy which they fondly call the Astro 200. The Astro 200 can be suspended from a wall or T-space for finishers and sows to keep them entertained and to prevent tail, ear and side biting. This toy is pliable, durable and provides a good bite thanks to the high quality natural rubber compound which is used to make it. The Astro 200 is in use across the world including in both university research farms and commercial farms across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America.

© EASYFIX

The impact of pig toys

EASYFIX’s range of pig toys greatly help to improve the environment of pigs. To begin with, their Luna range of pig enrichment toys is ground-dwelling which ensures that pigs maintain their natural posture and can always access them. Constant access to the devices helps reduce stress in the animals and a reduction in stress can often make pigs more resilient, less susceptible to diseases and easier to move and handle.

EASYFIX’s unique design also ensures that the enrichment devices can never get stuck in the corners of their pens and remain clean and hygienic at all times, as can be seen in low bacteria counts in swab tests.

EASYFIX pig enrichment toys encourage pigs to adopt as much of their natural behaviour patterns as possible in an environment that otherwise would not offer much. By nature, pigs display aggression to assert dominance. They do this by starting fights and biting other pigs’ tails and ears causing damage. However, the presence of the EASYFIX pig toys allows them to focus on something else and helps reduce aggression rates, and veterinary bills!

© EASYFIX

Sustainability

Environmental enrichment, and enrichment toys in particular, is the future of the pig industry. In years gone by, individual housing meant that sows suffered from social deprivation and lack of exercise. However, the introduction of EU Directive 2001/88/EC means that all sows and gilts from the age of four weeks old must be kept in group housing. This group housing regulation means that pigs absolutely require devices to keep their environment entertaining and to stop them from being aggressive towards each other.

Environmental enrichment is at the forefront of everything EASYFIX does and they truly believe their range pig toys is a game-changer in the market. Sales of EASYFIX pig toys continue to grow across the globe as more and more pig farmers and commercial enterprises become more in-tune with the importance of swine environmental enrichment.

For more information about EASYFIX’s range of pig toys check out these videos: