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Category: Manufacturing and Engineering
As consumers, we want our meat and other animal products to be safe, healthy and high quality. More and more, the quality of the lives of farm animals is also essential to consumers. That's where animal enrichment for livestock comes in.
Research shows that when we provide livestock with enrichment devices and activities, they live happier lives. They also produce higher quality meat and other animal products. Cows penned in barns love using a mechanical brush – bristles on a wheel, which activates when a cow touches it. They run their necks, backs, and flanks on the rotating bristles, removing parasites and dead skin.
Horses also love enrichment. They enjoy everything from balls that dribble out treats when pushed, to licks that hang in stables to alleviate boredom. Pigs get in on the fun with brushes, balls and hanging toys to bite and butt. Even chickens can benefit from enrichment, with bunches of string encouraging foraging behaviour. Sandboxes and hay encourage chickens to peck as they would in the wild, instead of pulling out companions’ feathers.
For all animals, entertainment and enrichment help to avoid destructive behaviour like obsessive pen chewing or biting other animals. Toys, thoughtful enclosure design, and even an audio stimulus like playing a radio help keep livestock happy, healthy and safe.
Animal behaviour science is always developing. There are always plenty of opportunities to design, build and deliver toys and tools to keep animals happy and healthy. If you're interested in a career in farming equipment, be sure to check out VERCIDA's jobs database.