Management & Housing

Leader: Eberhard von Borell, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Vice leader: Sonya Ivanova, Agricultural Institute, Shumen, Bulgaria

Core group: Antoni Dalmau, Ulrike Weiler, Susanne Zoels, Armelle Prunier


Overall objectives


Definition of EM specific conditions for improved health and welfare

  • Due to male specific behaviour (e.g. fighting, mounting, penis biting) or due to pregnant gilts at slaughter by housing and management, including transport, pre-slaughter handling and slaughter practice
  • To clarify if EM have different requirements for space and pen characteristics.

IPEMA aims to provide welfare-oriented housing conditions and appropriate management specifically adapted to requirements and behaviour of boars. Most of the production conditions regarded as animal friendly have been validated with gilts or SC. IPEMA “will provide similar information for EM production system. Additionally IPEMA aims to develop an alert system to identify EM specific welfare problems so early, that interventions are possible.



  • EM specific behavior and sexual maturation
  • Effects of group size and composition, space requirements, pen design, enrichment material on EM specific behavior
  • Effects of transport and pre-slaughter handling
  • Hormonal status, stress, health and immunity
  • Lifetime welfare assessment (EM & IC vs. castrates)


Specific Objectives for the second Grant Period (May 2017 - April 2018)

  • Identification of approaches for standardization of test conditions to improve prediction of boar taint potential to work on recommendations for rearing conditions in breeding programmes (together with WG 1 - Genentics and WG 2 - Nutrition)
  • Identification of possible early warning symptoms for entire male specific welfare problem on farms
  • Assessment of frequency of entire male specific welfare problems in organic and conventional pork production system within countries.
  • Evaluation of current research projects to identify the most important knowledge gaps in the management of entire males and immunocastrates


See also the presentations given during the 2nd Annual meeting in Prague

Group size and composition, space requirements, pen design and enrichment materials, by Eberhard von Borell

Success of Improvac vaccination – more than yes or no, by Ulrike Weiler