Cameras have been installed to help identify the causes of pre-weaning mortality on an outdoor unit in East Anglia, as part of field trial to help develop ways of reducing the problem.

Cameras have been installed to help identify the causes of pre-weaning mortality on an outdoor unit in East Anglia, as part of field trial by BPEX.
CCTV camera and recorder.
Day and night time cameras will identify predators entering the pens during the night and other periods when staff are not present.

Assistant knowledge transfer manager Samantha Bowsher said: “We know that having a ‘fox problem’ can increase mortality by anything between 2% and 10% in a batch but we have never done any trials to assess the true cause.”

The cameras will allow investigators to accurately record:

  • the number of visits by predators
  • what type of predators they are
  • how many piglets are taken
  • the sows’ behaviour and reactions

Samantha added: “By making this information available to the industry, it will help producers develop effective ways of reducing the problem.”

The field under surveillance is covered by four cameras, each mounted at a height of 10ft and covering a 25-metre distance.

As there is no power in the paddocks, the cameras transmit the footage back to a recorder – housed 400 metres away – where footage is stored ready for collection.

The recorder shows when each camera was filming and when it switched off and the producer can select specific time periods to view (e.g. when predation is more likely).

  • For more information about the trial, contact Samantha Bowsher on 07976 980753.
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