Pig vice behavior and how to mitigate it.

Pig vice behavior and how to mitigate it.

Pig vice behavior and how to mitigate it. 720 490 Sefa

Vices in pigs refers to a group of abnormal behaviors in pigs including biting, chewing and sucking of the vulva, tail, ears, flanks and navels, usually as a result of stress. The sows will tend to bite vulva especially during the late stages of pregnancy and it can be a major problem in loosely housed sows and poorly managed housing systems, which may end up in the loss of lives of valuable sows and piglets.


  • High stocking densities in pens / Overcrowding
  • Genetic predispositions (some breeds of pigs are more aggressive than others)
  • Poorly nourished (under-fed) pigs
  • Poor housing structures (narrow and thin pens)
  • Inadequate drinkers and feed distributors
  • Swollen vulva. The vulva is a highly vascularized tissue. The swollen vulva attracts more attacks and bites from the pigs especially if it is big which worsens the condition
  • Harsh weather conditions such as cold weathers

Clinical signs

  • Lacerations or cuts with blood on the skin and nose
  • Blood stains within the yard or pen
  • Mild to severe bleeding with damage to the vulva
  • Death
  • Scarred tissues at the vulval region which affects farrowing (still births, tearing of the vulva)


  • Increase the feed intake (particularly for underfed pigs)
  • Make available enough feeders and drinkers to avoid bullying and aggression. Feeders and drinkers should be evenly spaced
  • Maintain sizeable or small numbers of sows in a pen
  • Remove the offending sow(s) in the pen
  • Structure of pens should be wide and not narrow and long
  • Increase the salt levels to 0.9% per ton
  • Pregnant sows should be moved to a new pen with more floor area


Affected sows should be quickly isolated and kept in a separate pen.

Contact your Vet for assistance.

The sow’s condition will be assessed by a vet and given medications as well as possibly prepare her for surgery.


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